Economy, Domestic Economy

Aussie Agricultural Giant Sees Trade Avalanche

Aussie Agricultural Giant Sees Trade AvalancheAussie Agricultural Giant Sees Trade Avalanche

The newly minted US-Iran nuclear deal will deliver an “avalanche of trade” for western businesses, predicts the boss of Australian agricultural giant SunRice.

SunRice’s sales to the Middle East have already surged 41% to $141 million in the past 12 months, and chief executive Rob Gordon expects more growth to come as sales extend to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and even strife-torn Syria, wrote Australian newspaper The Age.

“The branded rice market across the Middle East in 2012 was worth $4 billion. And in 2017 we anticipate it will be worth $8 billion,” Gordon said.

“We were obviously unable to supply that market fully when we were in the midst of our drought. But since we have had Australian rice to sell again we have re-established ourselves as the market leader.”

SunRice, Australia’s last grain export monopoly, has almost doubled its market share in Saudi Arabia and Jordan to 60 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.

Gordon said the company has begun investigating Iran, which struck a deal with the US and five other world powers last month to limit its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of trade sanctions.

Gordon said the agreement presented a significant opportunity for western businesses, considering Iran’s population of almost 80 million.

“This deal on the nuclear issue I think is likely to open up an avalanche of trade with Iran,” he said. “We have done a few initial market soundings.

SunRice has increased its exposure to the Middle East, where it has had a presence for more than 30 years, by spending more on marketing its product as a brand rather than a commodity.

“We have done a lot of research in market to find out what motivates consumers in the Middle East, and particularly the main grocery buyer. They love creativity and a lot of their culture and family life revolves around meal times—celebrating being together and food being part of that.”

SunRice is claimed to be the “world’s fifth largest ricefood exporter”, and have historically been one of Australia’s largest exporters of processed branded food products.