Two free reports on ASEAN agriculture and food industry investment opportunities

THE SEPTEMBER meeting of South East Asian ministers on agriculture and forestry emphasised the importance of 'food security' to the ASEAN Community scheduled for 31 December 2015. In their communique, the ministers agreed to "remain vigilant on the opportunities and challenges of food security in the region and the world, particularly at a time of high volatility of commodity prices and economic uncertainties" and to "recognize the importance of constructive platforms for private sector and civil society engagement in addressing food security in the region."

Two new reports provide useful insights for private sector business and investment opportunities in the agriculture and the food industries of the region and their publishers have kindly made digital versions available free-of-charge for a period of time.

Agriculture and Agribusiness Investment in South East Asia, authored by Geoffrey Quartermain Bastin and published by FoodWorks Co, reports that the main drivers of economic growth in agriculture and food in the region are growth of the middle class; increased urbanization with mega cities sucking in particularly the youth; related changes in the quality, quantity and type of foodstuffs, switching from staples to value-added processed food; consequent changes in agriculture and marketing, food supply systems; economic and physical integration along economic growth corridors; and increased demand for food raw materials from India and China. It reviews two main sub-regions, the Greater Mekong (Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam) and the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines Economic Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA). Download the report here.

Australian Agriculture in the Asian Century: Food Bowl or Global Farmer? authored by Michael Sheehy, a director of Jakarta-based Akses Group, argues that there is little opportunity for significant growth in Australian agriculture and without significant growth Australia will never be the food bowl of Asia. There is however an opportunity for Australian agriculture to adopt a new paradigm of engagement with Asia -  to combine the best of Australian agricultural technology, science, management and Brand Australia to generate large scale production on some of the best agricultural land in the world which happens to be in Indonesia; "the north paddock over the water". Download the report here.