Explosion of Chinese demand for coal and iron

IT IS the big red elephant in the room.

The explosion of Chinese demand for coal and iron soaked Australia with money at the turn of the century, now it is time for growers to thrive.

With the superpower forecast to demand half of all the extra food needed by 2050, a national agriculture conference in Canberra has heard it is where farmers must focus their attention.

But the Australian Bureau of Agricultural Resource Economics and Sciences Outlook event also included a warning.

"There is no free ride for Australia," according to ABARES analyst Dr Jammie Penm.

"Much of the increased consumption in Asia will be met through higher production in the countries themselves."

It will be beef, sheep, goat meat and dairy products - or high-value goods - where Australia could thrive.

Mr Penm said regional producers will need to plan for supplying Chinese supermarkets and knowing the international conditions.

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