Saudi Arabia to import Australian wheat

24 Apr 2010

(MENAFN) The Saudi Gazette reported that Saudi Arabia has modified its wheat import quality specifications that will allow imports from Australia, the world?s fourth largest exporter of the grain.

The changes – to allow lower protein levels and a small tolerance for ergot fungus – mean that wheat from Western Australia, the country?s top grain exporting state, can take part in tenders issued by Saudi Arabia?s Grains Silos and Flour Mills Organization (GSFMO), state Agriculture and Food Minister Terry Redman said.

Australia has been unable to access the 2.5 million tons a year Saudi market as the Western Australian grain had lower protein levels than required and its grain was sometimes affected by ergot.

Saudi Arabia opened its doors to wheat imports in 2008 when it introduced a new groundwater conservation policy to cut annual irrigated wheat production.

Australia, which harvested 21.7 million tons across the country in 2009/10, is struggling to win wheat export orders as a strong Australia dollar, now trading above 92.5 cents, is making the country?s grain uncompetitive on world export markets.

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