BRENDON CANT brendon at iinet.net.au
Fri Sep 21 08:07:30 CEST 2007





Improving the quality reputation of Australian barley and malt is
increasingly important in the competitive global grain marketing


Barley Australia (BA) is close to releasing a supply chain quality trademark
that will enhance Australia's malting barley and malt market international


Although Australia's barley production is forecast to increase by 10 per
cent to around nine million tonnes this 2007/08 harvest, increasing
international competitive marketing pressures have led to a national focus
on barley quality.


BA Executive Manager, Linda Price, investigated the supply chain for malting
barley in the UK and France in the context of branding and supply chain
trademarking and applying and integrating quality assurance (QA) schemes.


Supported by a Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) travel
award, she established how Australia could implement a similar system and
this led to the development of the Barley Australia Assured Quality


"This trademark will provide customers with confidence that the product they
receive conforms to internationally congruent standards," Ms Price said.


The UK has been developing Assured UK Malt for around 10 years and the past
four years have seen a significant roll-out and positive reception from
maltsters and brewers.


Ms Price said the UK malting barley supply chain was set up so that during
each stage, the owner/manager of the product parcel passed on a QA'd product
that the next 'link' company could rely on for quality and integrity. 


"This is a mature and widespread system in the industry, so much so that
non-QA malting barley is excluded from the marketplace due to the critical
mass of QA product," she said.


Significant food scares in Europe in the past decade led to a very high
level of QA adoption in the grain supply chain in the UK, driven by both
government and consumer pressures.


According to Ms Price, Australia has had a more tolerant and less regulated
environment for agricultural production and a by-product of this has been
significantly less incentive for individual graingrowers to adopt on- farm
QA on a national scale.


"It's important the Australian industry heeds international signals, watches
what our competitors are doing and responds accordingly as we compete with
these countries in a very tough environment," she said.


"Key Asian malt markets will continue to expand their demand for beer and
become more sophisticated and demanding in quality preferences and


"This is already evident in Japan where at least one major brewer has
publicly committed to trace malt content back to the farm.


"In addition, industry consolidation could realistically see the major
European and US brewers expand on their current operations in Asia and
insist on greater regulatory standards for QA and traceability," Ms Price


The Barley Australia Assured Quality trademark is one that incorporates a
series of HACCP compliant QA systems that will satisfy emerging market needs
in terms of food safety and traceability.


"Although delivery of the individual pre-farm gate HACCP-compliant quality
assurance system is still some distance away for Australia, in the first
instance the trademark will acknowledge the HACCP compliant QA programs
utilised by all post farmgate businesses in the delivery of a parcel of malt
or barley to the marketplace," Ms Price said.


The Australian barley industry's future was about future access to markets,
more so than market premiums.


"The ability to show Australia has a quality assured barley supply chain,
with traceability back to the farm, does not mean increased barley prices,
but rather an opportunity to participate competitively in the market," Ms
Price said.


"This will be a difficult message for many growers. But by following Barley
Australia's collaborative template, all industry players can benefit from a
very co-ordinated and easy approach to QA."



Authorised by GRDC and issued on its behalf by Brendon Cant & Associates,
Tel 08 9384 1122

MEDIA CONTACT: Linda Price, Mob 0429 919 797
linda.price at barleyaustralia.com.au




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