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24 July 2020

Western Australian Agrifood Export eNews

Agribusiness, commercial fishing and aquaculture news from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.  If you have any questions or information to share, please email export@dpird.wa.gov.auSubscribe to Western Australian Agrifood Export eNews.

$8.1 million to support data-driven growth on WA farms

The Western Australian Government will invest $8.1 million over four years to continue the successful eConnected program that underpins essential digital information and weather data supplied to the State's primary industries, emergency services, academia and the regions. 

The ongoing funding will secure the program's digital platform, which provides State departments and commercial app and software developers with access to data sources to develop a range of online tools, models, programs and decision-making aids.

The funding also includes upgrading and maintaining the State's network of 187 automated weather stations, on which farmers, travellers and emergency services have become increasingly reliant.

Digital data and real-time weather information is a crucial component of modern agribusiness, essential to make accurate, timely, data-driven decisions, while emergency services use the resources to improve responses to fire, storms and sea rescues.

The delivery of digital data is being supported by the expansion of regional digital connectivity in the regions, as more infrastructure from the State's Digital Farm Grants program comes online to provide high-quality broadband to areas outside the National Broadband Network's fixed line and fixed wireless footprint.

WA Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the eConnected project is critical to ensuring WA farmers have access to the data they need to remain competitive in today's increasingly dynamic global marketplace.  More…  |  Related:  Digital connectivity boost to speed up the Wheatbelt  |  Bridging the digital divide for Carnarvon growers  |  Merredin DPIRD RD&I upgrade heralds next generation of dryland agricultural research  |  Source:  WA Minister for Agriculture and Food / DPIRD |  Photo:  DPIRD

International Competitiveness Co-Investment Fund information sessions

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development is hosting a number of information sessions to provide an overview of the International Competitiveness Co-Investment Fund (ICCF) Round 1 that was launched on 15 July 2020.

The ICCF is a major grant program being offered to support existing Western Australian exporting agrifood businesses to: progress the development of existing export markets; achieve consistent business growth through enhanced international competitiveness and strategic customer relationships in high value, premium export markets; and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic to maintain and further develop their business relationships with existing and new customers in Asia.

This webinar series will support Western Australian Agrifood businesses to understand the ICCF’s program objectives, the application process, and the implementation of this new funding round.

I-Lyn Loo (Manager, Primary Industries Trade), and Joan Lim (Project Manager, Asian Market Success), will be presenting these information sessions, which will take place Tuesday 28 July 2020 at 1.30 pm AWST, and Wednesday 29 July 2020 at 10 am AWST.

The program for the webinar includes: key objectives of the ICCF; application process; funding guidelines; question and answer session.  More...  Source & Photo:  DPIRD

Innovation voucher awarded for vertical farming system

A Western Australian company that produces automated smart-farms, capable of growing commercial quantities of fresh produce like lettuce, spinach and herbs with an ultra-small footprint, has been awarded a WA Government innovation voucher for its vertical farming system.  FoodCube, which says its system can fit on a rooftop, basement, or inside a business, was one of 36 WA companies to win vouchers this week.

On Wednesday WA Innovation and ICT Minister Dave Kelly announced the record number of Innovation Vouchers Program (IVP) recipients across the State, with funding for the program totalling almost $690,000.  The vouchers are each valued up to $20,000, with an additional 16 vouchers funded this year to help respond to the impacts of COVID-19 on WA businesses.

The IVP, which is part of the $16.7 million New Industries Fund, rewards exceptional WA start-ups and small to medium enterprises that have developed innovative products, technologies or services.  The vouchers help them commercialise their ideas and innovations through access to research providers and specialist commercialisation support services.  More information about the awards is available on the New Industries Fund website.  More...  Source:  WA Minister for Innovation and ICT  |  Photo:  FoodCube

IA-CEPA:Transforming Indonesia-Australia partnership

The Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) will help transform Australia's economic relationship with Indonesia, Australia's Ambassador to Indonesia told an Austrade webinar this week.  Gary Quinlan AO said Australia and Indonesia are closer than ever before, and IA-CEPA will allow us to better integrate our supply chains, and become more integrated as two economies.

The Ambassador said that while COVID-19 has been a challenge for both nations, the Australian and Indonesian Governments are very determined to catch up on any lost trade and investment momentum.

Sally Deane, Austrade's Senior Trade Commissioner in Jakarta and General Manager for ASEAN, said Indonesia is the largest economy in South East Asia and the fourth most populace nation in the world, with growing demand for consumer goods and premium food products. However, Ms Deane said free trade agreements don’t replace rules in markets.  She said companies still need to do their homework about markets, and build relationships in order to do business.

Ms Deane said Indonesia is Australia’s largest export market for live cattle, and fifth largest export market for boxed beef.  IA-CEPA delivers preferential access for over 99 per cent of Australia's agriculture goods, with outcomes for increased feed grain exports (especially wheat), and scope to grow horticulture, dairy, and inputs into food manufacturing. 

The International Monetary Fund's economic growth forecast for Indonesia for next year is 6.1 per cent, down from its earlier projection of 8.2 per cent.  More...  Source: Austrade / DFAT / IMF  | Photo:  USINDO

Australia’s two-way trade with US at $81 billion in 2019

Analysis released this week shows American economic activity in Australia is worth at least A$131 billion – the equivalent of about 7 per cent of Australia's GDP – and since 2005, two-way trade has increased by 98 per cent to A$81 billion in 2019.

The report by Deloitte Access Economics – funded by the United States Department of State and marking 15 years of the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) – reveals that US stands clear as Australia's number one source of foreign investment, with two-way investment growing by more than 180 per cent over the 15-year FTA relationship.  Two-way investment has almost tripled since AUSFTA came into force on 1 January 2005.

The US bought A$4.4 billion worth of Australian agricultural products in 2019, a 19 per cent increase on the previous year.  Approximately three quarters of this was trade in beef and other meats, with smaller amounts of trade in products such as wine, sugar, honey, fruits and nuts.  In total, almost 10 per cent of total Australian agricultural exports were destined for the US in 2019.

Western Australian agricultural exports to the US in 2019 were valued at over A$174 million, with the largest exports being lamb and beef, which together accounted for 60 per cent of the value of exports.  More...  Source:  Australian Minister for Trade / Deloitte Access Economics  /  DFAT  /  Kate Pritchett, DPIRD  |  Related:  US emphasises importance of economic links to Australia with new report  Source:  ABC News  |  Graphic: Top 10 foreign investors in Australia, 2001-2019  Source: US Embassy Canberra / ABS  |  US lamb consumers get a taste for 'new meat'  Source:  Farmonline (2019) |  Photo:  WA Agrifood Export eNews

Beef prices to remain high, reflecting tight supply

The average saleyard price of Australian steers and cows is forecast to increase by 4 per cent in 2020–21 to 556 cents per kilogram, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) reports in its June quarter 2020 agricultural outlook.  Saleyard prices are expected to remain high in 2020–21, reflecting lower turn-off from a smaller national herd and high demand from restockers.  Global demand is expected to remain robust in the short term.  However, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased uncertainty in export markets.

Most beef-producing regions in Australia were severely affected by two years of drought. Since February, widespread and above average rainfall has led to rapid pasture growth, particularly in the south-east.  Beef production is forecast to fall by 17 per cent in 2020–21 to 1.9 million tonnes, compared with a forecast 2.3 million tonnes in 2019–20.

The volume of beef exports is forecast to fall by 22 per cent in 2020–21 to 995,000 tonnes, in line with the forecast fall in production.  Expected increases in export prices mean that the total value of beef and veal exports is forecast to fall by 19 per cent, to $8.9 billion. Exports to all major markets are forecast to fall in 2020–21. However, falls in exports to China and the United States are expected to be larger in percentage terms than to the Republic of Korea and Japan.

ABARES says the value of Australian beef exports is forecast to reach a record $11 billion in 2019–20, as a result of high drought-related turn-off and high global prices. The value of exports reached historic highs in the first nine months of 2019–20, increasing by 26 per cent compared with the same period last year. This was a result of higher volumes (up 10 per cent year-on-year) and higher average export unit values (up 14 per cent). The ongoing shortage of protein as a result of outbreaks of African swine fever in China has supported global beef prices.  More...  Source:  ABARES  |  Photo:  DPIRD

Austrade: Middle East update for Australian exporters

Inspections of agriculture consignments into Qatar are becoming more rigorous, Austrade reports in its latest market insight.  Recently, of 5,200 agricultural consignments inspected, 56 (118 tonnes) have been destroyed – primarily from the United Kingdom and European countries. To date, no Australian consignment has been affected.

A major consolidator of Australian products in the Middle East has reported congestion at Singapore’s port.  The congestion is currently resulting in delays of up to three weeks on sea freight from Australia to the United Arab Emirates.  More...  |  Source & Photo:  Austrade  

OECD-FAO: Global capture fisheries down, aquaculture up

A new report shows that after strong growth in 2018, with overall production, trade and consumption reaching historic peaks, the global fisheries and aquaculture sector declined slightly in 2019.  The report, OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2020-2029 – a collaborative effort of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation Development (OECD) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations – found that aquaculture production continued to expand by over 2 per cent, while capture fisheries declined by about 4 per cent, due to lower catches of certain species including cephalopods, cod and selected small pelagic species.

Incorporating expertise from collaborating member countries and international commodity organisations, the report provides market projections for national, regional and global supply and demand of major agricultural commodities, biofuel and fish.  During the preparation of the report, the exact effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on agricultural markets were still largely unknown, and they were therefore not incorporated in the baseline projections.  Nevertheless, the Outlook aims to outline the channels of transmission of COVID-19 impacts on the various food and agriculture sectors. 

The OECD-FAO report says about 85 per cent of global crop output growth over the next ten years will be attributed to yield improvements resulting from more intensive input use, investments in production technology and better cultivation practices.  Further intensification of land use through multiple harvests per year will account for another 10 per cent, while cropland area expansion is projected to account for only 5 per cent and will play a much smaller role than over the last decade, improving the sustainability of agriculture.  Supplementary information can be found at www.agri-outlook.org. More...  |  For your diary, 8 September 2020: Virtual Launch of Sustainable Ocean for All Report  | Online Press Conference: OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2020-2029  |  Source:  OECD / FAO  |  Photo:  OECD

WTO: COVID-19 trade and trade-related measures

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has just released an updated list of trade and trade-related goods measures taken by WTO members in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The list has been compiled by the WTO Secretariat from official sources.  However, the WTO says it is not exhaustive.  The information contained in it is an informal situation report and an attempt to provide transparency with respect to trade and trade-related measures taken in the context of the COVID-19 crisis.

This WTO list includes Australia's International Freight Assistance Mechanism, the A$351.9 million temporary emergency measure that responds to the collapse of international airfreight capacity in and out of Australia as a result of COVID-19.

The list of measures does not pass judgement on, or question, the right of WTO members to take such actions, and it does not alter the current long-standing practice of the WTO Trade Monitoring Exercise of verifying information and measures with members, the WTO says.  WTO encourages its Members to provide updated information on these and other measures as appropriate. 

The WTO has also published a list of COVID-19 measures affecting trade in services.  More… |  Related:  WTO members appoint new chair for agriculture talks  | Source & Photo:  WTO 

FAO: ‘Country-driven’ approach needed to limit COVID-19 damage to food security

A ‘business as usual' approach is no longer an option, the head of the UN agriculture agency said last week, launching a new plan to move past the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We must work very hard to limit COVID-19's damaging effects on food security and nutrition”, Qu Dongyu, Director-General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said in his opening remarks launching the new strategy. “We need to be more country-driven, innovative and work closely hand in hand”.

FAO’s comprehensive COVID-19 Response and Recovery Program aims to avert a global food emergency during and after the pandemic, while simultaneously working on medium to long-term development responses for food security and nutrition.  More...  Source:  FAO  |  Photo:  FAO / Ryanwil Baldovino

IMF: Further action needed for a resilient recovery

When the Group of Twenty industrialised and emerging market economies (G20) finance ministers and central bank governors last met in April this year, the world was in the midst of the Great Lockdown forced by the outbreak of COVID-19.  As they met virtually last week, many countries had been gradually reopening, even as the pandemic remains with us. Clearly, we have entered a new phase of the crisis – one that will require further policy agility and action to secure a durable and shared recovery, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says in recent economic analysis.

Last month, the IMF reported a worsened economic outlook and projected global growth to contract by 4.9 per cent this year.  Some better news is that global economic activity, which posted an unprecedented decline earlier this year, has started to gradually strengthen.  A partial recovery is expected to continue in 2021.  The exceptional action taken by many countries, including the G20 – through fiscal measures of about US$11 trillion and massive central bank liquidity injections – put a floor under the global economy.  This extraordinary effort should not be underestimated.

The IMF says we are not out of the woods yet.  A second major global wave of the disease could lead to further disruptions in economic activity.  More...  Source:  IMF  |  Related: Amid fears of worst recession in decades, urgent calls for solidarity, a united economic front  |  Source:  UN News  |  Photo:  IMF