4 January 2001
Learn to realise eastern promise

By FWi staff

BRITAIN could considerably increase food exports to the Far East – but must first better understand the different nature of the market, farmers have been told.

About 40% of the UKs 10m tonne annual cereal crop – worth 1.2 billion – is exported. But cereal sales to Asia were worth just 59m in 1999.

However, opportunities are likely to increase as the economies expand in Far East countries, delegates heard at the Oxford Farming Conference.

Paul Davies of the Royal Agricultural College said demand could boom in China which is set to become the worlds largest economy by 2030.

If countries like Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia failed in their bid to commercialise their farming then those countries will also import more food.

British exporters have already been helped in countries like Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong because of special relationships and historic ties.

The more these good relations could be cultivated, the better for future trading prospects, Professor Davies said in an address on Thursday (04 January).

Improving business relationships, which in Asia are still to a large extent determined by trust, would be a key factor in determining future market success.

There were strong and distinct cultural dimensions to doing business in Asian countries, said Prof Davies. These relationships must be invested in for the future.