26-28 August 2014
Long term food demand in Asia and implications for Australian agriculture
Dr Jammie Penm
Food consumption in Asia is projected to increase significantly toward 2050, with consumption patterns shifting from traditional diets oriented around starchy staples to more varied diets with greater quantities of higher value and higher protein foods. Although food production in Asia is also expected to increase, it will not be sufficient to meet the growth in Asian food consumption for many products.
For Japan and the Republic of Korea, growth in food consumption is projected to be limited through to 2050, due to projected declining populations and modest future income growth. The most significant rise in food demand is expected to occur in China toward 2050. The rise in food consumption in China will be characterised by significantly higher demand by urban consumers for high-value foods, such as dairy products, beef, sheep and goat meat, fruit and vegetables. For rural consumers in China, growth in consumption of high-value commodities is also projected but the increases, on average, are expected to be smaller than urban households.
India is one of the largest consumers and producers of grain in Asia and has a self-sufficiency policy. By 2050, India is projected to become a significant net importer of fruit, vegetables and dairy products. For the ASEAN member states as a whole, imports of wheat, beef and dairy products are projected to rise toward 2050. Vegetable and fruit consumption in the ASEAN region is projected to nearly double by 2050.
Australia needs to remain competitive to meet the opportunities provided by higher Asian food demand. Apart from the role governments will play in reducing market barriers, the contribution from the private sector will also be important. Strong working relationships with supermarkets and hypermarkets in Asia will facilitate food exports.