There has been extensive discussion of Australia’s potential to be the food bowl for Asia. We agree that there is significant economic growth potential in agriculture and primary production. But we think that much of the discussion has glossed over where the largest opportunities lie, and what action is
needed to realise them.
Asia’s population is set to grow by some one billion people over the next thirty to forty years, an increase of 25%. More importantly, the Asian middle class will grow by around 2.5 billion people over this period, a six-fold increase. Forecasts suggest that Australia can feed only a very small proportion of these additional middle class mouths. So the real question is how to extract the most value from the country’s production, by targeting the most valuable consumers, rather than continuing a mindset inherited from Australia’s colonial past of mass producing and delivering to port.
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