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KPMG: Agribusiness future needs China-Australia partnership
August 30, 2012
By Rob Starr, Content Manager, Big4.com
According to a new report from KPMG, Misunderstanding China’s motivations to invest in Australia’s food and agriculture sectors is holding back lucrative trade and sector productivity opportunities for Australian companies relative to their competitors.
Doug Ferguson, head of KPMG Australia’s China Practice comments:
“China’s growing population, changing diets resulting from rising middle class incomes, and declining food production capacity means there are enormous, long-term, sustainable opportunities for Australian food sector companies to work constructively with Chinese partners to help solve China’s food safety and security needs,” he said. “Chinese companies have the investment capital and more importantly, the off-take demand to help build the next stage of Australia’s agricultural industry.”
Food safety is increasingly top of mind for the Chinese middle class consumer, following food contamination and food scare issues, and the Chinese will pay a premium for Australian grown and manufactured food.In 2010 alone, China produced 116,556 agricultural undergraduates and post-graduates, while the National Farm Institute estimates graduates from agriculture and agri-related degrees across Australia that year was a mere 700. There is an opportunity to create partnerships with Chinese agricultural universities and leverage this talent pool into commercial applications. This could help bridge the Australian talent gap in the short term, as well as provide Chinese agri-talent with invaluable experience in agriculture management.
Australia has an emerging crisis in the availability of labour to meet the needs of its agribusiness sector. In the short term, experienced and skilled labour from China and other skilled countries will be critical to meeting the resourcing needs of their farmers.