New strategy for grains

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Jenne BrammerThe West Australian
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The new strategy aims to double the value of grains by 2025.
Camera IconThe new strategy aims to double the value of grains by 2025. Credit: The West Australian

The Grains Industry Association of WA this week unveiled its strategy document, aimed at doubling the value of the WA grains industry by 2025.

The strategy is in its draft stage with comments and feedback to GIWA invited by January 30, 2015.

According to GIWA, the strategy aims to provide a shared whole-of-supply-chain focus on the important actions that can lead to an increase in the value of the industry over the next decade.

Implementation of the strategy will be achieved through investment, projects and activities and by individual businesses and organisations in the industry.

New GIWA chairman Sean Powell said the strategy consists of eight action areas applicable across the whole WA grains industry.

These range from increasing skills within the industry to optimising the grain handling and transport infrastructure for grain exports.

"This has never done before - we have never stood back from the industry and considered what it looks like today and where we want to get it to," Mr Powell said.

He said the strategy had been developed with input from the whole of the supply chain, including growers, plant breeders, marketeers and bulk grain handlers.

PGA grain industry president John Snooke said the plan seemed to be "by bureaucrats, for bureaucrats" and that it would be writing to GIWA to inform it that the PGA would not be involved.

His concern was that GIWA would push for some form of funding mechanism to move forward with the recommendations.

With proposed changes to the Australian Produce Commission Act to extend to broadacre farming, Mr Snook was concerned this would be the mechanism to impose further levies on farmers.

He said there were also a lot of contradictions in the report.

"For example, they propose getting rid of red tape and bureaucracy, but want DAFA to run that initiative and be in charge of all approvals. It's an oxymoron," he said.

WAFarmers grain section president Kim Simpson said there was no harm in taking a holistic view of the industry and assessing potential for improvements.

"However, this should be done in light of the fact the agricultural industry is a moving feast and any plans should be flexible and cater for the many variables," he said.

"What agriculture really needs are improved prices for our product.

"A strategy may help with that to a certain extent." Mr Simpson said all farmers would object to further levies if that was being contemplated to fund elements of the strategy.

Mr Powell said how any projects would be funded would be determined by a consultative process, but he assured there was no intention to use the possible changes within the APC Act to include broadacre farming.

_THE GIWA 2025 STRATEGY _

·Efficient and competitive supply chains.

1. Optimise the grain handling and transport infrastructure.

> Transparent paddock-to-consumer supply chain costs to identify appropriate investments.

2. Reduce government regulation and red tape.

> Lower costs and foster new business investment.

> Develop clear and efficient paths to market for new technologies (including delivering market choice for biotechnology).

3. Position Australia as a preferred and reliable exporter of quality grain to high value markets.

> Pre-competitive promotion of Australian grain.

> New market opportunities.

> Grain quality systems to underpin Australia's reputation as a preferred and reliable supplier.

> Effective national and state biosecurity strategies to ensure market access.

4. Identify value adding opportunities

> Evaluate opportunities that will encourage investment in integrated supply chains which give preferred access to markets and reduce risk.

·Effective adoption of tailored knowledge and new technologies.

5. Provision of essential regional technology infrastructure.

> Radar stations in the grainbelt.

> Communications infrastructure for comprehensive data connection services.

6. Build farm business resilience.

> Access to innovative finance and insurance packages for cropping programs.

> Integration of tools for adaptive real time cropping and business plans.

·Access to skilled people.

7. Skilled industry personnel.

> Skills audit (gap analysis) for all parts of the grain supply chain and address gaps through appropriate training and tertiary courses.

> Build industry image and positive profile to attract committed people into the industry.

·Focused Research and Development.

8. Focused farm productivity R&D.

> Delivered under the Grains and Soils National Research, Development and Extension Program; with priorities set by the grains R&D processes and the needs of WA grain growers; with delivery through Universities, DAFWA, commercial agribusiness and grower groups.

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