Australia approves foreign grain imports for the first time in over a decade

Winter cropping May 15, 2019

Speculation about imports has circulated for months as drought devastated the winter crop on Australia's east coast, driving up domestic prices for grain.

Grain grower groups have expressed concern that imports could jeopardise Australia's biosecurity.

A statement released by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources late on Tuesday said the import permit was "subject to strict conditions to manage the biosecurity risk".

"The import conditions require that the grain is sourced from areas assessed as presenting a low plant and animal biosecurity risk and impose strict movement, storage and processing controls within Australia," it said.

"The shipment is expected to arrive in Australia in the next six to eight weeks."

A Department spokesman said it had previously approved imports of whole grains, from several countries, in 1994-95, 2002-03 and 2006-07.

The ABC understands the shipment is of a high-protein grain likely to be used in milling.

Last week, the Department told the ABC it was assessing 11 applications to import bulk grain into Australia.

The applications applied to canola, wheat, corn and sorghum.

Australian grain prices are currently trading below the international price for wheat on an import-parity basis, following a decline in prices post harvest.

Source: ABC Rural

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