A single shipment of bulk wheat from Canada will head to Australian shores as the drought places further pressure on the local market.
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has issued the permit for one shipment of bulk wheat, subject to strict conditions to manage any potential biosecurity risks.
Import conditions will require the grain is sources from areas that present a low plant and animal biosecurity risk and impose strict movement, storage and processing controls within Australia.
It will be the first time Australia has had to import bulk grain since 2001.
The news follows an announcement from the Queensland Government, which declared two thirds of the state to be in drought.
- Drought hits GrainCorp figures, announces $59M loss
- Two thirds of QLD in drought, agricultural production hit
- Drought puts pressure on Australia’s wheat exports
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development Mark Furner said a lack of summer rainfall and increased temperatures have had a major impact on agriculture production, as this is the key period for our livestock and cropping systems that dominate Queensland’s primary industries.
“The drought has seen poor pasture growth, failed winter and summer crops in many areas, as well as significant concerns about stock, irrigation and rural domestic water supplies moving forward into our normally dry winter period,” Furner said.
“And while central Queensland received recent rainfall triggering some winter crop plantings such as forage oats, barley and chickpeas, follow-up rain will be essential.”
The Bureau of Meteorology does not expect the drought to break any time soon, reporting in its 2018 State of the Climate further decreases in rainfall across southern Australia.
The shipment of grain is expected to arrive in Australia in the next three to seven weeks.