Australian Grains Industry Conference
Melbourne, 30 July – 1 August, 2012
From the Conference website:
The Australian Grains Industry Conference, the premier industry hosted conference for grain industry market participants and service providers, will be held at the Crown Conference Centre, Melbourne from 30 July – 1 August 2012.
The event is hosted by leading grain industry associations Australian Oilseeds Federation, Grain Trade Australia and Pulse Australia.
The Australian Grains Industry Conference 2012 is a high-level market event that brings together the Australian and global grain industry in a premium networking event as well providing the latest information concerning grain markets in Australia and globally.
The Australian Grains Industry Conference 2012 will comprise a conference program addressing cutting-edge issues in evolving grain markets and a trade show.
The conference is the ‘must attend’ event on the grains industry calendar annually and provides a one stop opportunity to meet with clients, catch up with friends and colleagues and hear the latest developments in the industry. Over 800 delegates attended the Conference in 2011 and the 2012 Conference is expected to draw an even larger audience.
Fran Murrell of MADGE attended the Conference, and her report of the main presentations is available here: AGIC Report by Fran Murrell. It reveals just how clearly the large corporate players view the food and agricultural system as an arena purely for speculation and profit, regardless of the destructive social and environmental consequences of their actions. This was made crystal clear when one speaker said that a significant reduction in the outrageously high levels of food waste would represent a ‘threat’ to the burgeoning ‘investment opportunity’ that large-scale land acquisitions and clearances of rural and indigenous people in Africa and South America represents.
Key points of Fran’s report include:
- The grains industry is focused on supplying meat, wheat and dairy commodities to the Asian middle class
- The financial industry regards agriculture as the ‘shining sector of the economy for the next five years’
- It is assumed that the sale of Australian land and agricultural assets to sovereign wealth funds, global corporations and foreign investors will benefit Australian farmers and consumers
- The global land-grab is driven by the assumption that 65 million hectares of new farmland will be required in the next 10 years, to be obtained through land clearances in Africa and South America
- Threats to land ‘investments’ are seen as: a slowdown in growth, a reduction in food wastage, and a boycott of GM
- ‘A food industry based solely on maximising profit will push cheap processed food that makes people ill’
- A ‘more efficient grain industry’ means fewer farmers (numbers halved over past 30 years)
- Cargill is positioning itself as the farmers’ friend though increasing its control of the AWB, grain storage, handling and marketing: this is a company being prosecuted by the Argentinian government for large-scale tax evasion
- Benefits of GM simply assumed with little awareness of its downsides and failures to date
- “The conference showed that it is essential for ordinary people to get involved and turn around a food system that is dangerously out of control”