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Chinese investors eye Australian farm property
Brief:A delegation of Chinese investors has inspected several farming properties in Western Australia’s Great Southern food bowl.
It included representatives of the Beidahuang BDH Group, a state-owned company that has 5 million hectares in China’s Heilongjiang province.

The delegation of about a dozen people, which included agronomists, farmers and government officials, toured grain farms at Lake King and Ongerup with a local agent.

Nearby Lake Grace farmer and WA Grains Group chairman Doug Clarke says that he has had three meetings with the delegation regarding investment in local agricultural land.

"The Chinese buy or lease farms in Brazil, Argentina, New Zealand and North Africa and in return they develop excellent infrastructure,” he says.

Great Southern farmers have made it clear to the Chinese they that want good port access and a sophisticated supply chain that is available for them to use as a third party. The Great Southern region ships through the Albany port zone.

"The delegation was responsive, and farmers here like the idea. I have been fielding a lot of calls from farmers I know wanting me to introduce the delegation to them,” he says.

So far the delegation has inspected properties that are already on the market, and foreign investors already own one –the Lake King property.

"The Chinese take their food security very seriously. One of them told me they produce 1.2 billion tonnes of grain and that is not enough,” Clare says. “Where we only produce about 3% of the world’s grain. We are very small in comparison.”

The WA Farmers Federation has expressed serious concerns about interest from China in 80,000 hectares of prime Western Australian cropping land.


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