Western Australia's grain production could be valued at $10 billion annually by 2025, under a new strategy launched today by the Grain Industry Association of Western Australia. That would resemble production of nearly 20 million tonnes, according to industry representative GIWA, up from 17mt in the 2013-14 season harvest. The WA Grains Industry Strategy 2025+ said the industry would experience strong returns from recent investment in the value chain and demand from growing middle class Asia. Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston said it would be a doubling of the industry's value. "By 2025, the world's population is forecast to increase by 1 billion and this will require a 30 per cent increase in global grain production," he said. "Most of this demand is expected to come from Asia with a rising middle class, providing the WA grains industry with a unique opportunity to become a preferred supplier to this rapidly growing market." Mr Baston said the state government had spent $50 million on recent initiatives to support the industry, including $20 million on broader improvements to biosecurity. The report called for eight actions, including an analysis comparing the cost of road and rail pathways to get grain from farms to port, examination of handling infrastructure in Kwinana and Fremantle, streamlined export clearance and chemical registration, and expansion of choice for farmers using genetically modified crops. It also said the industry should promote Australian grain quality, emphasize value adding and processing, address skills shortages and improve technological uptake across the Wheatbelt. The report noted that competition from non-traditional exporters such as Eastern Europe and India was growing. In wheat production, the share of the top five producers, including Australia, has fallen from 88 per cent in 1960 to 64 per cent in 2010, GIWA said.
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