Australian agriculture urged to look to India
A new report released last week by the Australia India Institute argues Australia could be doing more to capitalise on massive growth in India. The report, called Unfinished Business: Re-imagining the Australia-India Economic Relationship, finds that in the next decade India may have to rely on imports of essential food because of climate change, population growth, and inefficiencies in food production.
If we are smart, Australia could help fill the void. Michael Moignard, a former trade commissioner to India and author of the report, says that food and water remain critical commodities in India. Without improvements in agriculture, India will soon become reliant on imports of food that it is currently self sufficient in.
India is also expected to experience a 30 per cent growth each year until 2016 in the organised food sector which includes supermarkets. This will influence the type of processed food purchased by Indian consumers who currently buy most of their food from local markets and small shops.
The report states that Australia is a significant supplier of pulses and lentils to India, and in recent years has provided dairy products, wine and lamb. However apart from a few retail products such as biscuits, fruit juice and cereals, Australian processed food producers have not been hugely successful in penetrating the Indian market.