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Cairns Group Farm Leaders visit dairy, cane and beef enterprises for liberalisation of world agricultural trade

29 March 1998

The 15 leaders of the Cairns Group peak farming groups spent today on cane fields and in cattle yards, on the first day of their historic visit to Australia.

The leaders, accompanied by National Farmers' Federation President, Donald McGauchie, Senior Vice President John Watson and Executive Director, Dr Wendy Craik, were guests of the Australian Canegrowers Council, the Australian Dairy Farmers' Federation and the Cattle Council of Australia.

On the first day of a two day tour of northern New South Wales, the leaders visited a dairy research facility, cane farms and investigated the infrastructure of the sugar industry.

They were addressed by the leaders of two of Australia's major commodity groups, who told them that prices to their growers would increase if international agricultural protection was eliminated.

The President of the Australian Dairy Farmers' Federation, Pat Rowley, who met the leaders at the Wollongbar Agricultural Institute, said dairy farmers would receive prices 30 per cent higher if they exported into unprotected markets.

Mr Rowley said Australian diary farmers were not protected, but were forced to sell into protected markets, and he called on the Cairns Group farm leaders to maintain pressure for further trade liberalisation.

In Ballina, the group inspected cane farms and discussed canegrower co-operatives.

Canegrowers' President, Harry Bonanno said it was estimated that the world market price for raw sugar would rise by 25 per cent, if tariffs and import embargoes were lifted.

Mr Bonanno pointed out that growers in sugar industry received neither direct nor indirect subsidies, and exposure to the world market had underpinned substantial growth and greater production efficiencies.

In Armidale, the group visited 'Saumarez' cattle operation, which produces commercial Angus cattle, and will be addressed tonight by the Chairman of the Cattle Council of Australia (CCA), John Wyld, at a dinner hosted jointly by the CCA and the Australian Meat and Livestock Corporation.

The Minister for Primary Industries and Energy, John Anderson, will join the group this evening and visit wool, dryland and irrigated cropping enterprises tomorrow.

Next Media Releas:
30/3/1998 Gains for beef and wool from trade liberalisation worth billions for liberalisation of world agricultural trade

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27/3/1998 Cairns Group Farm Leaders due tomorrow for historic meeting for liberalisation of world agricultural trade