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Grains industry roundtable opens a window of opportunity

NEW FOCUS: GRDC Northern panel chair James Clark, Agriculture Minister John McVeigh and AgForce president Ian Burnett at the Queensland Grains Roundtable in Toowoomba which attracted more than 40 industry leaders.
NEW FOCUS: GRDC Northern panel chair James Clark, Agriculture Minister John McVeigh and AgForce president Ian Burnett at the Queensland Grains Roundtable in Toowoomba which attracted more than 40 industry leaders. Contributed

AGRICULTURE, Fisheries and Forestry Minister John McVeigh has vowed the State Government will fight to ensure the right strategic direction is taken with regards to the grains industry.

More than 40 grains industry leaders converged on the DPI headquarters in Toowoomba last week for the State Government's inaugural grains industry roundtable.

Billed as being an avenue for industry stakeholders to join a robust discussion and form strategies to drive production, increase resilience and boost profitability in the state's sector, a surprising number turned out for the event.

Mr McVeigh hosted the session which highlighted the future of grains production in Queensland.

"Queensland's agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries have a production value of around $13.7 billion, employ more than 323,800 people along the food chain, and generates export earnings of more than $8.9 billion," Mr McVeigh said.

He slated the grains industry as "absolutely critical to the ongoing prosperity and growth of Queensland", and said the State Government was determined to develop plans "to support grains production increases and to work in unison with industry".

"Today's meeting is an opportunity for the major players in Queensland grains to sit down and discuss current industry concerns and to have input into the future planning of the industry," he said.

"Together we will identify where we need to focus and work with industry so that the Queensland grains sector can capitalise on emerging opportunities and increase our global market share.

"The period between now and 2040 presents an unprecedented opportunity for the Queensland agricultural sector."

Mr McVeigh pointed toward the world's demand for agrifood products as having the propensity to increase in the coming decades, especially the Asian markets.

"For the grains industry, this means that there are expanding opportunities in Asian markets," he said.

"I recently led a trade mission to Thailand, China and Hong Kong and I am planning to lead further delegations in 2014 that will specifically promote Queensland's grain production."

Topics:  commodities grains