AUSTRALIA – Australia and India have signed a new trade agreement that is meant to boost agricultural trade between the two countries. 

 Known as the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI ECTA), the new deal is expected to eliminate trade tariffs on more than 85% of Australian goods exports.  

Under the deal, sheep meat tariffs of 30 percent will be eliminated on entry into force, providing a boost for Australian exports that already command nearly 20 percent of India’s market  

Wool will have the current 2.5 percent tariffs eliminated on entry into force, supporting Australia’s second-largest market for wool products.  

Existing tariffs on avocados, onions, broad kidney, and adzuki beans, cherries, shelled pistachios, macadamias, cashews in-shell, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, currants will also be eliminated over seven years.  

Tariffs on almonds, lentils, oranges, mandarins, pears, apricots, and strawberries will be reduced, improving opportunities for Australia’s horticulture industry to supply India’s growing food demand. 

According to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the two countries will also now work toward concluding an enhanced agricultural Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).  

USDA quoting local media noted that due to sensitivity in India, major Australian exports such as dairy and chickpeas are missing from this agreement. 

Record oilseed crop anticipated for MY2022/23

Meanwhile, a report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is projecting Australian oilseed production, to be strong again in the marketing year (MY) 2022/23. 

Canola production is forecast in MY 2022/23 at 4.7 million metric tons (MMT), down from the record-busting crop estimated at 6.35 MMT in MY 2021/22. 

USDA attributed the drop in production to the current challenges of sourcing fertilizer and its high price. “This will discourage some canola planting,” USDA said. 

If realized, however, it would still be the second-largest crop in history, USDA noted in the report. 

Over half of the total canola produced (3.6MMT) will be exported as local consumption has relatively been stagnant despite an increase in population.  

Olive and olive oil production, although a small contributor to overall Australian oilseed production, is forecast to increase in MY 2022/23 because of a natural biennial effect in yield after a low previous crop. 

Meanwhile, Cottonseed production is forecast to rise to record levels in MY 2022/23 after an expected bumper cotton crop.  

The anticipated increase in production in the forecast year is due to the further improvement in irrigation water reserves after an extraordinary 2021/22 irrigation season. 

Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Business Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food and agro industry. SUBSCRIBE HERE