News: Australian meat processer Thomas Foods International has purchased processed potato wholesaler Mondello Farms for an undisclosed amount, Food Business Review reports. Mondello Farms' receiver, McGrath Nicol, confirmed the sale on September 3. Employing around 140 staff across South Australia and Victoria, Mondello Farms had been administration since March, suffering from declining potato prices and debts of more than US$40m. Mondello Farms runs a processing packaging unit in South Australia and Victoria.
BMI View: The Australian agriculture sector is recovering from a decade of subdued production growth due to extreme weather and a lack of investment. The industry is expected to remain buoyant in 2013/14, largely supported by export demand from Asia and higher prices for grains and oilseeds. In the longer term, we see major export growth opportunities in the sugar and livestock sectors. Although Australia will face stiff competition from Asian countries such as Thailand for sugar, and from the US and Brazil for meat, the country will remain a key player in those industries. As well as facing growing competition in its own region, Australia will very likely see high production costs and a vulnerability to extreme weather events.