Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce.
Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce. Lukas Coch

Research body: Spend on roads for Asian "dining boom"

AUSTRALIA'S most important food exports could begin hitting roadblocks on the path to expansion, with a national research body warning money must be spent on roads and other infrastructure if farmers are to capitalise on the Asian "dining boom".

The federal research body - Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences - gives the country a "room for improvement" mark as it considers how markets will look in 40 years.

Road networks and other forms of transport will need to be improved, with massive spending on irrigation installations if Australia is to increase beef farming in northern parts of the country.

Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said the groundwork needed to be in place if Australia was to compete internationally.

"If we want to make the most of our export opportunities to growing Asian markets, we need to make sure that the infrastructure is there to support it," Mr Joyce said.

"We need to ensure we can move it cost effectively and efficiently so we can build on our competitive advantage."

Mr Joyce said federal funding of the Bruce and Pacific highways in Queensland and New South Wales was already helping to improve transport networks.