Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Becoming the bread basket of Muslim Asia

By Jonathan J. Ariel - posted Wednesday, 7 August 2013

This coming Thursday, 8 August, marks Eid-al-Fitr, the end of the month of Ramadan, when the 30-day long dawn (Sahour) to dusk (Iftar) fasting is broken with celebratory feasting.

Followers of Islam believe that fasting helps them learn patience, modesty, and spirituality. The month-long fast is maintained by serving meals before sunrise and after sunset, and eaten with family or neighbours.

The Sahour and Iftar meals usually contain fruits, vegetables, breads, pastries, meats, legumes, soft drinks, yogurt and cheeses.


What better time than Ramadan for Australia's food growers and processors to quietly reflect on just what percentage of a typical Muslim Malay, Indonesian or Indian's dining table is occupied by Australian made or grown foods?

Sadly not a significant percentage if my time in Kuala Lumpur is any guide.

The world is staring at a serious challenge in the coming decades, as global food demand is poised for unparalleled growth.

As global population ramps up from seven to nine billion people by 2050 and may nudge 10 billion by the century's end, it is worth noting that most of this growth will occur in developing countries, especially in urban areas, which will soon be home to 7 out of every 10 persons in the world. Furthermore, the growth rates of today's low- and middle-income economies are expected to canter along by more than five percent annually. This is three times faster than today's advanced economies.

And the epicentre of middle class growth is right on Australia's front yard.

The mixture of population expansion, income growth and internal migration from rural to urban centres will drive demand for diets that are more varied and more energy intensive to produce. Higher-income urban dwellers demand a greater variety of foods and especially more processed foods.


While human consumption of basic crops such as grains and pulses may soften, the demand to grow these crops for animal feedstock only increase.

Against this backdrop, overthrown Prime Minister Julia Gillard's recent call for Australia to become the food bowl of Asia makes perfect sense.

Australian agriculture can, will and must play a significant role in addressing the demands of a growing population in Asia, both as an exporter and as a source of innovation.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. All

This article is partly based on Marketing Halal: Creating New Economy, New Wealth, Liow Ren Jan (MPH Group Publishing, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia RM 32.90).

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

4 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Jonathan J. Ariel is an economist and financial analyst. He holds a MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management. He can be contacted at

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Jonathan J. Ariel

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Jonathan J. Ariel
Article Tools
Comment 4 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy