A report from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) has identified transport infrastructure, particularly roads, as a limiting factor in the capacity of Australia’s beef supply chain to respond effectively to increasing global demand.
ABARES Executive Director, Karen Schneider, said that there were significant opportunities ahead for Australia’s beef industry, with global food demand increasing.
“Much of the forecast increase in global food demand is expected to occur in Asia, and previous ABARES research has identified beef as one commodity where there is likely to be a significant increase in demand,” Ms Schneider said.
“This report looked at infrastructure across Australia’s beef supply chain and considered how effectively and efficiently the supply chain could respond to increasing export demand.
“The report noted that beef production is the most extensive and geographically dispersed agricultural activity in Australia.
“Given this, maximising supply chain efficiency and speed to market are essential to maintaining a competitive beef and livestock industry. Resolving any inefficiencies in Australia’s beef supply chains will help producers to capture the opportunities presented by increasing Asian demand.
“The report considered the causes of inefficiencies in road transport, and looked at possible options for addressing them, such as user-pays models, recommending further research into the practical effects of introducing such systems.
“The report also recommended collecting data on road use, condition and maintenance costs as the first step in addressing inefficiency into road funding allocation systems. Even without road pricing reform, such data can help increase efficiency by guiding funding to better reflect where road use and damage occur.
“While the main constraints are in the transport sector, the report also identified telecommunications infrastructure as a potential constraint, with some stakeholders raising concerns about patchy mobile phone coverage and unreliable satellite internet access.”
This story was first published in Leading Agriculture magazine.