A new plan to capitalise on the improving fortunes of Western Australia's dairy industry has been launched by the State Government.
State Agriculture and Food Minister Kim Chance outlined the plan at the opening of the annual WA Farmers Dairy Conference earlier this week.
"This plan, signed off by all the major stakeholders in the industry, will assist it in taking advantage of the exciting new opportunities currently offered by good prices and growing market demand for WA dairy products," Mr Chance said.
"The industry is seeing a welcome turn-around from a number of years of pessimism.
"Today, optimism has returned in strength for our dairy industry, which is in an excellent position with a marked increase in domestic demand, along with competitive and sustainable export opportunities."
Mr Chance said last year's prices at the farm gate rose to 40 cents per litre, with processors offering more than 50c/l for this summer.
This reflects both strong export and domestic demand, he said.
"The challenge now is to strengthen and position our dairy industry so that it can meet the new marketing demands, particularly from China and India," Mr Chance said.
"The plan for growing dairy in WA identifies the principles and strategies to increase the current annual WA milk production to more than 400 million litres by 2010.
"It is a bold target, but achievable, given the co-operative efforts by stakeholders in the industry to set common principles to pave the way for future growth."
Mr Chance said WA enjoyed a great competitive advantage over the eastern States and New Zealand in supplying the growing Asian markets because of the State's shorter shipping times.
"This new industry plan has innovative ideas to attract investors and more farmers into the industry to meet market demand," he said.
"It also includes support, in the form of share-farming arrangements, to help our dairy farmers become best practice employers."
Mr Chance said the challenge ahead for WA's dairy industry was to ensure processes were in place to capitalise on the opportunities on offer for the industry.