It’s a confrontational stunt that had to happen: a direct challenge to AWB’s wheat export monopoly based on a superior price being offered to farmers.

The West Australian has the story of CBH wanting to pay WA growers $20 to $30 a tonne more for there crop than AWB is offering, conditional on obtaining approval from the Wheat Export Authority and AWB to export the wheat to flour mills it owns in south-east Asia.

The WEA is the Federal Government body shown to be not just asleep at the wheel but comatose in the back seat while AWB was going about its criminal ways in Iraq and elsewhere. AWB is AWB.

The CBH play makes good headlines when WA wheat farmers are angry about not being able to get the best price on offer for their wheat thanks to AWB hedging policies and the monopoly – but it’s also old. CBH has applied and reapplied for export permits for this same export trade without success.

For example, CBH announced it was resubmitting an export application to WEA last December. More interesting is the support it claimed then from WA wheat farmers, long before the international wheat price took off and AWB was caught with its hedges a good deal lower than the market.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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