A Western Australian beef producer says foreign investment is the only way to ensure the long-term sustainability of the state’s industry
Michael Introvigne says across many categories, WA producers get less for their meat from local processors than those in Queensland.
He blames a lack of competition in the state, and says that foreign investment would serve to reinvigorate the WA industry.
“Competition is the key. [If] we get a new player in the market, to possibly build a new abattoir... that will build confidence in the industry, and then the supply-chain will grow with it,” said Mr Introvigne
"There's endless opportunities. We have to forget about this foreign investment furore that's happening among certain circles.
“We should welcome foreign investment because quite frankly, the institutional investors or the capital markets in Australia aren't interested in agriculture."
Mr Introvigne, who also runs cattle in Queensland, says the current climate of beef production within Western Australia is unsustainable for producers.
“Price-wise for weaners and for everything else, we really need to see a lift, because it’s not sustainable for beef production,” he said.
“We do our own cost of production on our different enterprises, and sometimes you wonder why you even run cattle.”
He believes an injection of foreign capital is the only way the state’s industry can remain competitive.
“Sometime ago, a group said we need to invest $1 trillion in agriculture – and we probably do. We have an aging farmer population, that is struggling to keep reinvesting here,” he said.
Mr Introvigne rejects the notion that foreign investors posses only short-term interests in Australian agriculture, and argues that they are in fact more committed to the ongoing health of local industries.
“These foreign nations actually look at long term food security for their nation.”
“[Australian investors’] priority is on the quick return, the big buck return – particularly from the mining industry. Agriculture is a longer-term venture. Overseas countries can see the value of food security and using Australia as that,” he said.
“That’s got to be beneficial, because they’re not going to turn round in five years and say they don’t want it anymore. Their populations are growing, and they want to secure food.
“Food is what causes wars and riots around the world, and they don’t want to see that in their own backyard.