#AginAsia: Top Takeaways for the Orana


#AginAsia: Top Takeaways for the Orana

In late September the RDA Orana Chair, John Walkom, and CEO, Felicity Taylor Edwards, travelled to Toowoomba to participate in the Ag in the Asian Century Conference, hosted by Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise.

The conference showed the huge potential of the Asian market, and painted a very real picture of the challenges we face in reaching that potential. It must be acknowledged that just because the opportunity is there, Australia will have to do more than rely on its location to reap the huge rewards on offer.

No matter where you sit in the supply chain to Asia, these key messages from the conference speakers are useful to consider:

There is opportunity, but there’s also work to do

Australia currently produces 5% of global food, yet it is predicted that Asia will consume 50 per cent of global food by 2030. Industry growth toward increasing supply into Asia will require innovation, investment, collaboration and real leadership by all parties throughout the supply chain, including farmers, freight and logistics companies, food manufacturers, peak bodies, research organisations and governments.

Shift from marketing a commodity to a branded product

While this is a generalisation, demographics across Asian markets are changing. Key consumer groups are young, educated and have high incomes. They do their research and make purchasing decisions based on price, safety and freshness. What is brand Australia? In a market where country of origin labelling is always present, we need to capitalise on an image of being clean, green and safe to become the product of choice.

This will require spending time in the market and getting visible

We live in a world of technological advancement. Effective e-commerce and social media strategies determine the success of brands or products. One of the speaker’s at the conference provided the tip ‘be local with your social’. This also holds true for face-to-face relationships. Spend time in the market to understand your consumer, as well as how other cultures do business. It will be a long term investment of time and money, but with long term reward.

Our supply chains must be world class

In a market that values freshness, efficient and consistent logistics is essential. We must work to ensure we have the kinds of appropriate infrastructure that will turn our supply chains from an underpinning system to a front-of-mind, marketable asset. Agrifoods are produced regionally. Direct access to Asian markets from the region is essential.

Innovation is key

The use of new, transformative technology on farm, and across the supply chain, will continue to be a determining factor of success. Whether it be scanning and RFID for traceability and food safety, surveillance for crop management and water control or data capture for assessment to identify potential productivity increase, small changes may present huge returns on investment where we’re looking to increase supply or appeal to the changing consumer market.

RDA Orana is planning to bring a similar event to the Orana region in early 2016. Keep an eye on our newsletter, facebook, twitter, or website for more details.

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