Thailand represents significant potential as an end market and regional beef processing and distribution hub within South East Asia and China for Western Australia's beef, according to a report commissioned for the State Government.
Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston said a pre-feasibility study commissioned by the Department of Agriculture and Food, through its Northern Beef Futures project, found the Thailand beef industry was strategically placed to service growing Asian demand over the coming years.
Following an agreed health protocol with Australia, Thailand began importing feeder and slaughter cattle from Australia in early 2015.
"Thailand imported 9,000 head of cattle from Australia in 2015 and WA has the potential to grow these figures by developing a new supply chain with modern processing and best practice management," Mr Baston said.
"WA offers high-quality cattle with potential to complement Thailand's well developed feedlot sector and processing industry."
The study, funded by the State Government through Royalties for Regions, assessed an integrated supply chain of live cattle exported from the State for finishing, processing, distribution and marketing of beef and cattle products in Thailand, taking into account increased competitiveness, market penetration and value-adding production.
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the study provided an initial document to support future feasibility studies by prospective investors and was part of a four-year, $15 million investment aimed at transforming WA's northern beef industry.
"The Northern Beef Futures project is identifying new supply chain business models to diversify market opportunities for northern beef producers," Mr Redman said.
"Royalties for Regions is investing in the growth and development of a strong economy."
The State's beef cattle industry was valued at an estimated $656 million in 2014-15
The study identified particular potential for production across the north of WA. This area, known as the Rangelands, already produces 230,000 to 320,000 head per year, accounting for about one-quarter of the State's total herd of just over one million head
Agriculture and Food Minister's office - 6552 5400
Regional Development Minister's office - 6552 6700