WA's agricultural sector is moving to take better advantage of export opportunities to Asia and the world, as ground is broken through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China's largest food processing manufacturer and trader.
The MOU between China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFC) and the not-for-profit group The Global Foundation, which is in the early stages of development, was the main topic of conversation at the Feeding Asia and the World: Food Summit held in Perth last week.
This partnership has the backing of WAFarmers and the potential to benefit WA producers as COFCO can give valuable insight into exporting into Asia.
The Global Foundation chief executive officer Adie Dawes-Birch said COFCO would provide important insights into market structure, cultural pressures and economics as Asia faces the challenge of feeding its ever-growing population.
"The summit helped with the acknowledgement that people actually have to start thinking differently about partnerships and the reality of the scale of what we're dealing with," Ms Dawes-Birch said.
"For many people the understanding of markets, consumer needs and the actual supply chain process to get the product into the foreign market is an unknown."
She said the summit brought together all levels of the supply chain with the goal of connecting and creating partnerships.
"In convening the summit in Perth, the foundation acknowledges the strength of WA's existing capabilities and proximity to key markets; and the potential for the State's agribusiness sector to take advantage of the burgeoning growth markets throughout Asia," she said.
"They (COFCO) through the MOU are not interested in coming and buying our land and farms, they want to partner up along the whole chain and secure long-term needs by creating processes for export that benefit Australian producers and Asian consumers."
Ms Dawes-Birch said food security and Australia's ability to supply Asia and beyond had been "on the radar for many years" and The Global Foundation has acted as a catalyst and enabler in amplifying the long-term potential for the total food supply chain in Australia and across the region.
The foundation's goal is to work with local communities across States, nations and regions to highlight opportunities in key markets.
She said summit attendees were aware that in order to export to China, they must first understand what Chinese consumers and companies wanted from Australia.
"We are such a tiny market compared to China and while we can't expect to be the solution for their food needs, we have the ability to assist," Ms Dawes-Birch said.