WHILE the longer-term outlook for cattle is good, the industry needs to reposition “in many ways”, says Northern Territory Cattleman’s Association (NTCA) president David Warriner.
Mr Warriner will address the NTCA 29th annual conference this morning in Alice Springs, and said the Asian market will be key to the industry’s future.
“Indonesia, Indonesia, Indonesia: whatever happens in this market is going to have a profound effect on us in the Territory,” Mr Warriner said.
“We will certainly witness the so called ‘food boom’ that is around the corner; however, we will need some smart footwork in the next couple of years to participate and see real benefit.
“Fifty years ago we were better off. We had superior terms of trade creating real wealth to industry land owners and participants. We had better relationships with governments in that agriculture and food production was given a far better hearing than we receive today, and most importantly we had a much closer relationship and connection with our urban counterparts and consumers.
“To participate in a boom, strategic positioning is required by industry and major players with commonsense facilitation by governments.”
He commended AACo on the decision to construct the abattoir in Darwin, calling it a “very positive show of faith in the longer term prospects of the industry that will be good for all producers”, and also said ESCAS had delivered “terrific outcomes” for all.
“At the end of last year a group from NTCA and NTG visited feedlots and abattoirs in Lampung and Jakarta, and what we saw was very encouraging,” he said.
“Animal welfare management is without question massively improved. The MLA staff on the ground undertaking training of Indonesians and installation of facilities are doing a great job most of the time.
“The challenge now is to get the cost of ESCAS to an affordable level. I have heard it is now over $100 per head and needs to be closer to $20 per head.”
Mr Warriner said NTCA was continually forced to participate outside NT issues. “We are a State Farmer Organisation that spends more than our fair share of time, resources and energy on national issues because others can’t or won’t.”
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