THE Australian Grains Industry Conference (AGIC) kicked off in Melbourne today as the national forum for those in the supply chain to gather with international visitors and analysts to talk about what lies ahead.
Under the theme of Navigating the Future: Roadmap to 2025, the two-day event which has attracted 500 delegates was officially opened by Federal Minister for Agriculture Bridget McKenzie.
Appearing via videolink from Canberra, Ms McKenzie said the Australian Government was committed to getting the most out of its Free Trade Agreements, and maximising Australia’s biosecurity advantage, both areas which would help the advancement of Australia’s grain industry.
“Notwithstanding grain prices, the Australian grain industry is in a great position domestically and on the international stage,” Ms McKenzie told the forum.
“We’ve got a longstanding reputation to be pest and disease free.
“This is underpinned by our strong biosecurity system.”
Ms McKenzie said the government was also looking into developing new markets for grain, providing support during drought, and further investing in research and development to benefit the grains industry.
Grain Trade Australia chairman Andrew Goyder also spoke in the opening session, and talked about some of the challenges which were facing the Australian grains industry, including drought and the east-coast feedgrain deficit it had created, and insolvencies.
In addition to 2018-19 exports of 18.7 million tonnes (Mt), Mr Goyder said the drought deficit has seen around 3.5Mt of grain transhipped from Western Australia and South Australia to eastern ports, far more than had been brought east in previous droughts.
With drought still impacting northern New South Wales and southern Queensland, Mr Goyder said the transhipment program would continue.
“We know there will be some that needs to come around the corner again this year.”
GTA yesterday hosted a member workshop which looked at how to mitigate risk in an environment which has already generated a number of insolvencies.
“Insolvencies have been a topic of late,” Mr Goyder said.
“It’s very unfortunate and also reflects the season we experienced.
“They affect everyone in the supply chain.”
AGIC 2019 Gallery: