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New NFF President travels to Japan to talk agriculture

11 April 2013

New President of the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF), Duncan Fraser, is today in Japan to attend a meeting of the international agricultural representative body, the World Farmers’ Organisation, and to meet with key Japanese Government, agriculture industry and farmer bodies.

Mr Fraser, who became NFF President on Friday, has travelled to Japan as part of an Australian delegation that also includes Grain Growers Limited, Australian Dairy Farmers and Meat & Livestock Australia.

“Japan is the second largest market for Australian agriculture – we export 12 percent of our agricultural produce, including beef, sugar, dairy and grains to Japan – which is why this trip is important in helping strengthen our relationship with this key trading partner,” Mr Fraser said.

“The purpose of our trip is twofold: to better understand the shared challenges and opportunities for agriculture in Australia and Japan; and to meet with farmer representative bodies from around the world at the World Farmers’ Organisation General Assembly.

“Interestingly, agriculture in Japan is similar to Australia in many ways. Most of Japan’s farms, like Australia’s, are family run and share many of the challenges facing our Australian farmers: an ageing rural workforce and declining rural communities, a need to increase productivity growth and deal with increasing costs, and the need to be prepared for a variable climate, including droughts and natural disasters.

“And, like Australia, Japan’s future agricultural growth relies on expanding exports, particularly into growing Asian markets. There are many opportunities for us to work together to achieve this, while also continuing our strong relationship as trading partners.

“The completion of the Japan-Australia free trade agreement is one such step in this. The agreement has been in development for some six years, and negotiations are reaching a critical stage.

“Ensuring a strong relationship, and a positive outcome for both Australian and Japanese farmers will be a top priority for us over the coming week as we meet with our Japanese counterparts, JA Zenchu, and the Japanese Government to talk about the future of our respective agricultural sectors,” Mr Fraser.

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