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Australia suggested to play larger role in Asian food security | Updated: 2014-03-13 15:00

Australia will benefit from and can play a larger role in providing high-quality food to Asia, especially to those fast developing nations like China and India, said a report by the Economist Intelligent Unit (EIU) launched Tuesday here.

The report, commissioned by chemical and seed company DuPont, considers scenarios for economic growth in the agricultural and food sector over the next decade, providing an outlook to 2030 that points to a situation where real per-capita food consumption could increase by 79 percent for developing countries, and could more than double in China and South Asia.

Under the core scenario, by 2030, China will import 59 percent of all food exports from Australia, up from 12 percent in 2007. Even under a slower economic growth scenario, China will buy a significant share, or 42 percent, of all Australian food exports.

The report, titled Fortifying Australia's Rold in Asia Food Security, predicts that as Chinese people become more affluent, China's food self-sufficiency may be reduced from 97 percent to 87 percent.

Agriculture has been an important area in the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) talks between Australian and China. The talks has been running since 2005 and are now at the final and critical stage.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott had pledged not long after taking office last September that he will have the Free Trade Agreement with China finalized in 12 months. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang mentioned in his Government Work Report to the National People's Congress on March 5 that China will accelerate the FTA talks with Australia, lifting the hope that Abbott will fulfill his promise.

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