Report to identify agrifood potential

30 Nov, 2016 10:19 AM
Agriculture and Food Minister Mark Lewis.
Agriculture and Food Minister Mark Lewis.

A REPORT commissioned by the Barnett government has found the State's agrifood sector has significant untapped potential for further growth and is highly attractive to a wide range of investors, both locally and globally.

Agriculture and Food Minister Mark Lewis said the Investment Ready: WA Agribusiness report provided information to WA-based businesses seeking investment to help them grow.

"With an estimated $60 billion in assets and mostly productive land, the sector does not lack capital but does require further investment to double its value by 2025," Mr Lewis said.

"The report predicts that with a minimum of $10 billion in new capital investment, the Western Australian agrifood sector could achieve this level of growth.

"This investment is needed to help develop value chains and transform WA's raw materials into consumer-ready goods, and intensify production systems to meet the growing demand from the emerging middle-class populations of Asia."

WAFarmers president Tony York said WA was full of huge opportunities and fully supported the plan.

"I think it is very timely and it's hitting the gap in our industry in terms of people trying to take advantage of those opportunities," Mr York said.

"We need some help in terms of accessing the markets and branding WA food products and learning those skills on market development.

"There is only so much government can do, it's up to the producers and processors to build those relationships."

Mr York said there were some good examples of WA busineses being successful including V&V Walsh and CBH.

"We need more," he said.

"We need to encourage growers as well, they need to have the connection and understanding, because I don't think we recognise the value of our produce."

Mr York said WAFarmers milk had done its own part in terms of branding.

While it was a good example of marketing and branding to help WAFarmers, he said it was a "show and tell project".

"If we can do it, so can you," he said.

"There should be many people trying to go through this process."

Mr York said it was all about building relationships and understanding each market.

With exports of WA agrifood products valued at $7.79 billion in 2014-15, the report identified options for WA agrifood businesses to attract additional capital to grow and prosper beyond that.

Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the report would encourage and help agriculture and food businesses take full advantage of growth opportunities.

"The report provides key insights into how investors make decisions on which agribusinesses to invest in, and how they evaluate potential investment opportunities," Mr Redman said.

"Strategic investors, in particular, can bring a significant competitive advantage to a business such as greater access to global supply chains, increased value-added activities in WA, leading skills and technology, or new production or processing capacity."

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