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India cotton ban opens opportunity for farmers: Ludwig
07/03/2012 - India's ban on cotton exports opens up opportunities for Australian cotton farmers, Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig says.
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The decision by India, the world's second largest producer, to halt its cotton exports was made to ensure supplies for its own domestic mills.
Senator Ludwig says it's up to Australian producers how they deal with the news.
"It's an opportunity for them to build on overseas markets," the minister told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.
"I've got no doubt they will take any opportunity they can."
Senator Ludwig was speaking after giving an opening address to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) two-day Outlook 2012 conference.
The conference heard Australian cotton exports are set to jump by 89 per cent this financial year to a record 955,000 tonnes, setting the nation on track to become one of the world's largest cotton exporters.
The surge is being driven by strong offshore demand and supported by a bumper year for the sector, which is due to produce a record 1.1 million tonnes of the fibre in 2011/12.
The numbers are included in an ABARES report released on Tuesday that highlights positive outlooks for the agricultural, fisheries and forestry sectors.
Assuming favourable seasonal conditions continue, Australia's earnings from domestic farm exports are forecast to be around $35.1 billion in 2012/13, after an estimated rise of 9.4 per cent to $35.5 billion in 2011/12.
The Agricultural Commodities Report also predicts cotton exports will increase by a further 12.5 per cent in 2012/13, to another record of 1.1 million tonnes.
If that occurs, Australia will surpass Uzbekistan to become the third-largest cotton exporter in the world, behind the United States and India.
Senator Ludwig told the conference the prospects for Australian farmers were bright, even as the country's southeast experiences heavy rain and flooding.
Summer crop production is forecast to rise 18 per cent in 2011/12 to 5.4 million tonnes, ABARES says.
"For the first time in more than 30 years the ABARES survey data show both strong average farm business profits and positive rates of return for broadacre farms in all states and all broadacre industries," Senator Ludwig said.
"It's a good time to be a farmer across Australia."
ABARES executive director Paul Morris told the conference good seasonal conditions across Australia, combined with solid commodity prices, were providing farmers with very good returns.
"This presents one of the best opportunities for farmers to have a re-look at their farm business plans and look at how they might plan for the future," he said.
Source: AAP NewsWire
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