The Hon. Mark Vaile, MP
The Hon. Mark Vaile, MP

Media release

7 July 2004 - MVT55/2004

Strong Growth in Asian Agrifood Demand Forecast

Asia's annual demand for agrifood products is set to increase strongly according to a new report, Asian Agrifood Demand Trends and Outlook to 2010, released by Trade Minister Mark Vaile today.

"The report finds there will be a remarkable increase in demand for food and beverages by Asian economies regardless of whether these economies continue to grow at low, medium or high rates up to 2010," Mr Vaile said.

"By 2010 Asia's annual consumption of wheat and flour, for example, is projected to increase by as much as 53 -67 million tonnes on 1997 figures. Its annual consumption of beef is likely to be higher by 5-10 million tonnes, and its annual consumption of dairy products is expected to increase by 41-78 million tonnes.

"In the case of many products, this increase in demand will translate into increased imports which is good news for agricultural exporting countries like Australia."

The report is the fourth in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Agrifood Globalisation and Asia series which tracks the major changes underway in Asia's agrifood demand and supply patterns related to economic growth, continued population growth, accelerating urbanisation, and higher consumer expectations about food safety and food quality.

"We are witnessing an historic change in Asia's demographic structure as more and more of Asia's population shifts to the cities," Mr Vaile said.

"Asia already has at least 25 cities of four million or more people and this number is growing fast. These big cities are increasingly the main hubs of demand for food and beverages to which the principal agrifood supply chains are being linked.

"Higher income Asian consumers across the region are increasingly demanding better levels of food safety, food integrity and food quality. This is an area of great competitive advantage for Australia, for which we are well known across Asia. Australian agrifood suppliers can deliver the highest possible standards of food safety and quality."

Mr Vaile emphasised the importance of continued trade liberalisation as the best way to allow all economies in the region more opportunity to participate in supplying a larger, more dynamic Asian agrifood market.

"Australia's strong engagement in multilateral trade negotiations and in negotiating free trade agreements with key Asian economies is fundamental for better integrating Australian suppliers into this exciting, fast-growing marketplace," Mr Vaile said.

See also:

Contact: Ursula Carolyn (Ministerial) 02 6277 7420 or Nicole Guihot (Departmental) 02 6261 1555

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