Argentina’s wheat exports are set to double over the next decade, potentially challenging Australia’s competitiveness in key markets, according to a new report from the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC).
AEGIC Chief Economist Professor Ross Kingwell said Argentina was already a world powerhouse of grain exports with wheat poised to take a greater role.
“Argentina accounts for 15% of the global grain trade, exporting 86mmt,” he said.
“While corn and soybean are still their main grains, wheat will become increasingly important for Argentina.”
Prof Kingwell said Argentina was increasing its wheat yields at a faster rate than Australia, and this trend would continue as more farmers used increased inputs, adopted superior varieties and used improved technologies.
“Argentinian wheat production is projected to easily hit 21mmt over the next decade,” he said. “In addition, the area planted to wheat could increase by a further 2 million hectares. This means there will be around 14-15mmt of wheat regularly available for export, more than double the current average of about 6.5mmt.”
Prof Kingwell said this should be a cause for concern for Australia.
“Australian wheat exporters will face increased competition in key markets from Argentinian wheat,” he said. “As its exports grow, Argentina is also likely to commit more organisational resources into market development.
“Argentina’s wheat production is a smaller threat than that of Russia and Ukraine. Nevertheless, the situation should still be monitored and responded to by Australia.”
Prof Kingwell said there was a need for greater intelligence to be gathered about the specific characteristics of Australian wheat that are required in key markets.
“This information helps Australian wheat breeders and those engaged in wheat variety classification and segregation to ensure Australian wheat varieties have traits that not only benefit Australian wheat growers but also serve the needs of those end users.”
Prof Kingwell said AEGIC’s economic and supply chain research helped the Australian industry understand and prepare for future challenges. Past studies have covered Ukraine, Russia, Canada as well as detailed analysis into Australia’s grain supply chains.
Argentina’s grains industry: implications for Australia was released at a forum on 16 November supported by the Argentine Chamber of Commerce In Australia (ArCham) and the University of Western Australia.
Presenters at the forum included:
- Professor Ross Kingwell, AEGIC Chief Economist
- David Hughes, Argentinian farmer and president of ArgenTrigo, (Argentina’s peak wheat industry association)
- Diego Berazategui, Executive Chairman of the Argentine Chamber of Commerce in Australia (ArCham)
- John Henchy, Executive Officer for the Farm Machinery & Industry Association of WA (FMIA)
In July 2018 Australia and Argentina committed to stronger agricultural engagement and cooperation by convening the inaugural Australia-Argentina High Level Agriculture Dialogue at the G20 Buenos Aires summit.
At this historic meeting both countries signed a Joint Statement and agreed building partnerships and increasing engagement on complementary interests will benefit both nations.
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