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Australia calls for more foreign investment to be Asia's food bowl

(Xinhua)

11:02, March 13, 2012

SYDNEY, March 12 (Xinhua) -- Australia needs to encourage more foreign investment in the country's regional infrastructure to make it become Asia's food bowl, Federal Trade Minister Graig Emerson said on Monday.

Emerson told the Australia Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Radio that Australia could be the food bowl for Asia.

"That's an idea that's been around for a long time, but we can make that a reality," he said.

"There's already 7 billion people on Earth, another 2 billion to be added by 2035, and in addition to that big increase in population, the rising middle classes of Asia are demanding more high-protein foods and for Australia that means more beef, more sheep meat and more dairy products."

The Minister said Australia should encourage greater foreign investment in water infrastructure.

"There's no doubt that we have a reputation for being drought- prone, but that obviously has an adverse affect on our capacity to be reliable suppliers of food to Asia," Emerson said.

"So we need to do more with our water infrastructure on farm water conservation and also our transport and logistics in getting produce from farms to markets."

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