Despite significantly reduced grain production this season, AWB remains confident there will be sufficient grain to meets domestic requirement for this year and next, AWB Limited’s Group General Manager Trading Peter Geary said today.
Responding to concerns that there maybe a shortage of feed grain due to drought, Mr Geary said AWB was taking action, where appropriate, to ensure its domestic customers have access to grain supplies.
"We recognise that the current drought will significantly impact grain flows and may constrain domestic access to feed requirements," said Mr Geary.
"We understand that domestic customers may have concerns about security of grain supplies and may have to source grain from non-traditional areas within Australia.
"We are confident that enough grain will be available to meet those requirements, and AWB is taking measures to ensure domestic customers get access to that grain," said Mr Geary.
A number of domestic consumers have raised concern regarding the current high price of feed grain. It should be noted that AWB Domestic Trading is one of a number of grain traders in the deregulated domestic market and has no legislated market power when it comes to domestic pricing. AWB Domestic Trading competes with other traders in posting cash bids to growers and servicing the needs of a significant number of grain consumers in all regions of Australia.
In addition the AWB National Pool is currently tailoring its current wheat export program in order to preserve vital grain stocks in drought-affected regions of Australia.
"AWB National Pool has publicly stated there will be carry-over of stock of approximately four million tonnes for this year’s harvest," said Mr Geary.
"This carry-over stock combined with the 2002/03 crop, will ensure sufficient grain stocks are available to meet the needs of domestic consumers," Mr Geary said.
AWB National Pool also makes stocks available to any buyer through a Tender Process. Tenders have been held each week for the last six weeks. In excess of one million tonnes of wheat has been bid for and approximately 156,000 tonnes of wheat has been sold through this process. Tenders will continue to be run weekly for the months ahead.
AWB states that the question of whether grain should be imported is an issue for the consumers who wish to undertake this activity and the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service. AWB is cautious of consumers importing grain, as it can be a costly exercise fraught with quality issues.