THE State government has announced $1.5 million in grants to Western Australian businesses, in a bid to drive premium food exports to Asia and create jobs across the regions.
Eight business are in line for grants of up to $200,000 to support export of ready-to-eat products – including Pilbara Wagyu beef, WA-branded lamb, fresh milk and fruit – to Asian aged-care markets.
Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the grants would focus on value-adding, while creating jobs and driving exports.
“To drive long-term jobs in WA, we need to create more value on-shore from the meat, fruit and vegetables that we produce for export,” Ms MacTiernan said.
“These projects are focused on processing in WA and developing onshore supply chains to develop high-end products and create jobs for regional people.
“Asia’s demand for high-quality primary produce is at a record high and these grants will help businesses to capture a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“These businesses operate across the State, from the Pilbara to the Great Southern, and are themselves making significant investment in accessing and developing high-value sustainable export markets to drive regional WA into the future.”
Business that have been awarded round two grants as part of the Asian Export Program are Fresh Produce Australia, Pardoo Beef Corporation, Tosum, Harvey Industries Group, Geraldton Fishermen’s Co-operative, Avena Mills, Bannister Downs Dairy and Ocean Grown Abalone.
The Harvey Industries Group has been granted $200,000 to develop a WA-branded lamb finished product, leveraged off the back of Harvey Beef’s retail beef brand.
Minderoo Group’s head of investment John Hartman said the grant would provide significant assistance in getting a WA-lamb product to southeast Asian markets by the end of the year.
“Harvey Beef is packing lamb for the domestic market and we believe there is a strong opportunity to take our ability to pack the case-ready products to the premium markets of southeast Asia,” Mr Hartman said.
“The grant will assist us with market research and branding in order to launch into the market.
“One of the things that we want to have a strong focus on is the WA provenance, not just Australia.
“We’d also like to tell some of the stories of the farmers behind the product as well, which is of strong interest to the export markets.”
Mr Hartman said the grant could lead to the creation of more jobs at Harvey Beef’s processing facility.
“It will continue to help us increase the volume going through our plant at Harvey,” he said.
“We’re positioned at Harvey in order to keep creating jobs in a strong regional community.”