An Agriculture Cooperation Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed in Jakarta today by the Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud and the Indonesian Minister of Agriculture, Dr Syahrul Yasin Limpo.
Minister Littleproud said the MoU was an official recognition of the tangible agriculture trade that flows between our nations and the desire for that trade to grow.
The MoU was a highlight of the three-day visit which saw the Minister meet with key ministers including the Indonesian Minister for Agriculture and the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs and the Minister for Manpower as well as Indonesian agribusiness representatives.
“Indonesia is Australia’s fourth largest agriculture, fisheries and forestry export market, valued at $2.9 billion in the 2020/21 year”, Minister Littleproud said.
“Indonesia is Australia’s largest market for wheat, largest market for live cattle, and fifth-largest market for beef.
“The two-way trade for the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors was $4.07 billion which shows that Indonesia is not just a respected partner but a valued one as well.
“The MoU signed today has an implementing Work Group with 4 taskforces which will focus on livestock and animal products, crop and plant products, modern systems and processes as well as agriculture research and education.
“Under the MoU, our nations will cooperate to facilitate mutually beneficial trade. In simple terms it is a win-win for both our countries.
“Through the three days I was able to raise a number of trade and market access issues of interest to Australia and reiterated my commitment to work with Indonesia to ensure both countries can take full advantage of the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.”
“I also welcomed the engagement of Indonesia on the Australian Agriculture Visa and welcomed the progress being made.”
Indonesia is Australia’s largest market for wheat ($1.2b in 2020/21), largest market for live cattle ($584m in 2020/21), and fifth-largest market for beef ($287m in 2020/21).
Mr Littleproud’s itinerary has included a site visit at Bogasari Flour Mill – the largest integrated flour mill in Indonesia, and one of Australia’s single largest agricultural commodity customers in Indonesia, one of Indonesia’s premier high-end supermarket chains, Ranch Market, where specialty Australian produce is sold, including red meat and stonefruit and meetings with Indonesian agribusiness representatives from the horticulture, grains, red meat and live cattle sectors.
Well done Minister Littleproud, and for that matter the Federal Government for the IACEPA, but this goes well beyond the trade sector and our traditional international allies.
Australia (and similarly Indonesia although it may never talk about it) needs to continue to repair the relationship damage caused by some earlier decisions, of which the live trade ban is a prime example, and to move towards closer ties, within which trade, growth, regional security and defence are prominent.