SINGAPORE — Rising to the challenge of expanding Asian markets was a common theme at the Australian Grains Industry Conference (AGIC) event in Singapore on March 9.
In opening the conference, Australian High Commissioner to Singapore, Phillip Green, said that focusing on Asian markets will bring great dividends.
Green told the meeting that the Asian customer had enormous buying power and congratulated the Australian industry on engaging with its customers through forums such as AGIC Singapore 2015. He highlighted the need to understand that what the consumer wants at the supermarket checkout is changing rapidly.
This sentiment was echoed by James Campbell from ANZ who highlighted the growth of the middle class in Asia and that, as a high quality supplier, this should be the target for the Australian grains industry. He noted that Australia would not have the volume to meet the demand being generated by population demographics but had a major role to play in meeting the needs of the middle class.
Ron Storey from Australian Crop Forecasters noted that Australian farmers were producing more tonnes from less rainfall and that this was underpinning security of supply for customers.
Storey noted that customers need to be more informed about the implications of drawing grain from multiple Australian origins and highlighted the customer shift from a commodity market to a customized market.
Managing director of global miller Interflour, Greg Harvey, told delegates that growing per capita consumption of flour across Asia would see demand grow significantly and also highlighted that demand is becoming more customized.
The conference also heard from major Australian grain marketers and handlers CBH and GrainCorp who presented 2014-15 crop data by region. This showed that growers were responding to end-user market signals by choosing newer wheat and barley varieties that better met market requirements.
Conference Organizer Rosemary Richards said a consistent theme throughout the conference was that Asia is the future for Australia’s grain industry and while Australian wheat held a premium position in the market, continued investment in quality, supply chains and understanding changing customer requirements was needed.
“The conference provided a great opportunity for all in the industry to gain even greater insights into global and local trends and will hopefully further assist in the facilitation of dialogue between the industry and customers, and ultimately expansion of opportunities for Australian grain into the Asian region,” Richards said.
AGIC Asia continues with an event in Hong Kong at the Grand Hyatt on March 11.
Visit www.ausgrainsconf.com/asia to download the proceedings from AGIC 2015 Singapore.