VIETNAM is on track to outpace the rest of South East Asia in coming years, and with its rate of economic growth and development comes a hunger for Australian wheat.
That’s according to a recent report published by the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre, exploring the importance of Australian wheat and barley markets in Vietnam.
Australia occupies a dominant position in supplying wheat to Vietnam, and is a preferred supplier both for bread and noodle manufacturing.
Wheat use in Vietnam lifted from below one million tonnes in 2000 to 4.5 million tonnes last year, with consumption of wheat increasing steadily.
According to the AEGIC report, Vietnam is set to outstrip the rest of South East Asia with its rate of economic growth, with the economy set to more than double by 2030.
Since 2011 the value of Australian grain imports to Vietnam has remained steady, with Australia enjoying duty free access under a free-trade agreement.
Julia Hausler, a grain grower from the northern Wimmera, recently travelled to parts of South East Asia — including Vietnam — with a delegation led by AEGIC.
“The visits were to discuss Australian wheat quality and functionality for South East Asian flour millers,” Ms Hausler said.
“Most of the customers we spoke to were in agreeance that Australian hard and premium wheat grades performed with excellent functionality and consistently through their various manufacturing processes.
“Some of the functionality traits the South East Asian markets desire include colour, noodle elasticity and firmness, texture stability in hot soup style foods, and milling yield.”
The AEGIC report forecast demand for feed wheat is also expected to grow, as aquaculture and animal industries continue to expand.
“However, demand for feed wheat is more variable as it depends on the relative prices of alternative local and imported competing feed sources such as corn and cassava,” the report read.
Since 2008, feed wheat imports grew by more than one million tonnes a year.
Between 2009 and 2017, Australian wheat imports averaged about 1.5 million tonnes.
Ms Hausler said Australian wheat prices were an important factor when it came to the Vietnamese wheat market.
“Our customers pointed out achieving product performance parameters was important, but recent seasonal conditions made supply consistency and the price of Australia, was of major concern,” Ms Hausler said.
“Price is very important when manufacturing instant noodles and selling them for AU26c a packet in Thailand, AU50c a packet in Indonesia, or AU52c a packet in the Philippines. To compare, similar noodles are sold in Australia for about 65c to 80c.”
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