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Land and Environment : Agribusiness Assoc. of Australia

Agribusiness Review - Vol. 6 - 1998


Industry Opinions And Development Issues Relating To Feral Goats

Terry K. Elliott and Keith B. Woodford
Paper 1


Feral goats are the major source of Australian-produced goat meat and associated by-products. Commercial harvesting is also the main method of controlling Australia's feral goat populations. A qualitative survey of seven major processor/exporters found that these organisations believe that there are insufficient goats available to meet strong overseas demand, that Australia should manage its feral goats as a resource as well as a pest, and that Asian markets have the greatest potential. Subsequent in-market investigations in Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore indicated that feral goat meat sells in these markets at a premium over mutton and at similar prices to lamb, but at a major discount compared to local goat products. Importers believe that failure to meet product specifications is a contributing factor. The paper discusses the effects on industry development of a perceived lack of industry legitimacy that stems from feral goats being regarded as a pest rather than a resource. The study also identifies some commercially focused R&D priorities.

Patterns Of Meat Consumption: Some Australian Evidence

Christine E. Storer , Geoffrey N. Soutar, Murray H. Hawkins
Paper 2


A study of Perth metropolitan consumers was undertaken to provide insights into meat consumption patterns. Current meat use patterns are described, as well as the meat benefits sought by shoppers. The market was segmented based on meat use patterns and eight segments were found that were labelled ‘light meat eaters', ‘moderate meat eaters', ‘beef eaters', ‘white meat eaters', ‘lamb eaters', ‘chicken eater', ‘heavy meat eaters' and ‘mutton eaters' in order of size. Differences in the lifestyle, demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the segments were examined and their marketing implications were considered.

Growing Plants, Evolving Rights: Plant Variety Rights in Australia

David Godden
Paper 3


The recent and likely future evolution of the plant breeding and seeds industry in Australia is analysed in this paper. The context for this analysis is the enactment of Australian legislation for intellectual property rights in new plant varieties in 1987. A necessary preliminary to this analysis is a description of how plant breeders develop new plant varieties, and the conditions under which commercial plant breeding is profitable in the absence of intellectual property rights such as Plant Variety Rights (PVR). Such investigations also require an understanding of the conditions of seed production in Australia. This preliminary analysis also helps explain, conversely, the historical predominance of public plant breeding in Australia. Against this background is explained the evolution of PVR from a 1960s idea to 1980s reality.
The effect of PVR legislation on plant breeding in Australia is examined via statistics on actual grants of PVR from the inception of the scheme. However, prior to enactment of PVR in Australia, it was predicted that such legislation would not create plant property rights that were sufficiently effective to promote significantly greater plant breeding investment. Thus amendments in 1994 to the original PVR Act, ostensibly for consistency with the international PVR convention, reflected the industry's desire to strengthen commercial private plant breeding. Finally, recent advances in molecular biology have implications for future plant breeding techniques and the opportunities for commercial plant breeding. Some predictions are made as to possible future developments in PVR to accommodate these scientific advances.

Opportunities For Lecithin Production in Australia

David Lambourne and Geoff Covey -
Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Melbourne
Paper 4


Australia imports approximately 2500 tonnes of lecithin annually, the majority of which is used in the food industry. This paper investigates the opportunities for producing lecithin in Australia. This is performed by examination of the current lecithin market in combination with an analysis of the feasibility of supplying this market with locally produced lecithin. The results indicate that while margarine and chocolate manufacturers are the largest consumer of lecithin imports, the present growth in lecithin demand is being driven by increased milk powder exports. Australia has the raw materials to supply the domestic and regional export markets. However, the feasibility of manufacturing it in Australia will be dependent upon the ability to use canola lecithin as a substitute for existing soy lecithin imports.

The Demand for Seed Potatoes in South East Asia

Peter J. Batt, Senior Lecturer,
Horticulture, Curtin University of Technology, Perth
Paper 5


Over the last five years, it is apparent that the potential to export Australian seed potatoes to markets in South East Asia has received considerable attention from both Government and the private sector. No fewer than four DPIE Agribusiness Programs have been dedicated to expanding the market and improving the performance of Australian seed potato exports. A recent seed potato industry workshop sponsored by the HRDC, has established research and development priorities for both the domestic and export industry, with several research projects already underway to address some of the impediments raised.

EAAU's Reporting of Agriculture and Food Distribution in Asia's Megamarket: Does it Really Meet the Needs of Business, the Government and Academics?

Paul Riethmuller,
Senior Lecturer Department of Economics, University of Queensland, St Lucia
Paper 6


Australia's share of Japan's food and live animal import market has been pressured by competition from the USA, China and the ASEAN countries. Questions have been asked about Australia's approach to the Japanese market and level of understanding of its agricultural market and its distribution system. The 1997 report by the East Asia Analytical Unit (EAAU) had the opportunity to contribute to Australian knowledge of this part of the Japanese economy. It is questionable whether the report makes any contribution of substance in these areas.

Book Review - Agriculture in Australia - an Introduction

Bill Malcolm, Peter Sale, Adrian Egan.
Oxford University Press, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia,
1996, pp 472. ISBN 019 553695-09
Paper 7

Book Review - Food Marketing: An international perspective

Schaffner, D.J., Schroder, W.R. and Earle. M.D.
(1998) WCB McGraw Hill, Boston. Pp487. IBSN 0 07 057206-2
Paper 8

On Advancing Australian Trade, Investment and Commercial Opportunities in China: Lessons from Wool Trade

Colin G. Brown,
Senior Lecturer, School of Natural and Rural Systems Management, Hartley Teakle Building, The University of Queensland
Paper 9


Few markets offer so much yet pose such challenges to Australia's agricultural industries as does China. Australian industries, firms and trade negotiators have not coped well with the chaotic import and investment channels and with the policy gyrations. Drawing on the case of wool, so dominant in overall Sino-Australian trade and relations, the paper argues that only with a better understanding of Chinese problems and policies will the full potential of Sino-Australian trade be realised. As other key agricultural industries in Australia gear up on the Chinese market, they need to heed some of the hard-learnt lessons experienced by the wool industry.

Resource Use Conflicts in A Multi-User Environment: Land Assignment in the Australian Sugar Industry

Thilak Mallawaarachchi
CSIRO Tropical Agriculture & CRC for Sustainable Sugar Production
Paper 10


The Australian sugar industry has expanded rapidly since 1991. In spite of progressive policy changes, sugar industry remains highly regulated. The land assignment system that governs the industry expansion allocates production quotas. This complex process includes trade-off decisions among economic, environmental and social objectives, and is therefore prone to resource use conflicts. Mutually acceptable solutions to resolve conflicts that surround cane land assignment have important implications for the economic viability of the industry, the ecological integrity of natural resources, and the well being of regional communities.

Income Strata and Meat Demand in Urban China

Haiou Cai, Colin Brown, Guanghua Wan and John Longworth,
School of Natural and Rural Systems Management, University of Queensland, St. Lucia Campus.
Paper 11


Rising meat consumption in China has focussed attention not only on China's livestock and grain policies, but also on its impact on international markets for meat and grain. Yet little is known about meat consumption in China. An LA-AIDS model employing purchase data segmented by income class is used to identify price and income elasticities for different groups of Chinese consumers. The magnitude of own price and income elasticities for ruminant meat exceeds the corresponding elasticities for pork and poultry. However, the response to own price and income changes is compounded by the interaction between household income and meat group.

The Value of Barley Protein in Livestock Feeding in Queensland

Jyothi V Gali, Colin Brown, and Malcolm Wegener
Paper 12


The impact of protein content of feed barley in the diets of beef , dairy cattle and pig in Queensland is evaluated. A model based on the least cost feed ration analyzes the marginal value of additional protein content in feed barley for different liveweights of animals. The results indicate that higher protein levels in feed barley generally have a low feed value to livestock feeders. Therefore, efforts to improve market arrangements by introducing premiums for higher protein in the feed barley market would not seem desirable even with the present expansion of feedlots and their perceived need for quality grains in Queensland.

A Review of the Albacore Tuna Fishery in the South Pacific

Chris Lightfoot
Consultant economist based in Melbourne
Paper 13

This paper has been prepared from information gathered during a consultancy undertaken by Chris Lightfoot and Chris Friberg on behalf of the Forum Fisheries Agency.


Over the past twenty years the international albacore (Thunnus alalunga) fishery has declined in importance relative to other tuna fisheries. The Japanese and the South Korean fleets have virtually left the fishery and the composition of the Taiwan fleet is changing from specialist albacore longliners to dual purpose frozen sashimi/albacore vessels. The remaining specialist albacore longliners are old, inefficient and barely covering their direct costs of operation. The newer Taiwan vessels are making slightly better returns, principally due to having ultra low temperature freezers that enable them to switch between the albacore and frozen sashimi fisheries. The newer vessels are also larger and can stay at sea for much longer periods. As a result the Taiwan fleet is moving into the high seas where albacore are an international common property . This means the vessels do not have to pay access fees or conform to management controls. The change in structure and operating patterns means that the island states have little control over the fishery and therefore are unlikely to earn significant rents from its exploitation.

Consumer Attitudes To Hydroponic Produce in Western Australia

Peter J. Batt and Allen M S Lim,
Muresk Institute of Agriculture, Western Australia
Paper 14


Consumers prefer produce grown without chemicals. While it is apparent that many consumers are confused between the benefits of hydroponic and organic produce, the majority of consumers are able to differentiate between the use and application of chemical fertilisers and the use of chemical pesticides. Consumers believe hydroponic produce is cleaner, fresher and tastes better than conventionally grown produce. To maintain consumer sovereignty, hydroponic growers should make every effort to restrict the use of chemical pesticides.

The Importance of Labels on Apples: Who Really Benefits?

Peter J. Batt and Cara Sadler,
Muresk Institute of Agriculture, Western Australia
Paper 15


Retailers, in particular the large supermarket chains, appear to be the driving force behind growers labelling apples. By labelling apples with the variety name, check-out staff can more readily identify the variety and thus minimise the errors made in correctly pricing fruit at the check-out. However, the majority of participants throughout the fresh fruit marketing chain do not use the labels on fruit to assist in the selection of apples. Furthermore, the majority of growers, agents, retailers and consumers, do not believe that labelled apples are any indication of superior quality.

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