While a battle rages in NZ over foreign investment in agriculture, Trade Minister Craig Emerson is calling for more Asian investment in Aust food production.
He says rising global food demand will provide lucrative opportunities for Aust but warns the scale of investment required to meet the demand will require offshore investment. He says in the same way foreign investment by Asian nations seeking energy security bankrolled the development of the booming resources industry, demand for food security could unleash a new wave of investment in Aust agriculture.
In backing the push for greater access to capital, the National FarmersFederation demanded more policies to boost productivity and strengthen the economy to help farmers rise to the production challenge. Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences research has found potential for Australia to lift the value of its agricultural exports by 140% by 2050 in real terms.
Emerson says drought-prone Aust needs major investment to improve water infrastructure and create enough equity for pastoral and agricultural companies to be able to access bank finance. He says Asian investment could be the catalyst for bringing Australian agriculture into the new economy.
There are similar opportunites in New Zealand.
We have the land, the produce and the expertise. They have the money.
There must be a way we can get together to our mutual advantage.