Agriculture and Food Minister Kim Chance will travel to the Middle East this weekend to discuss trade and investment opportunities for Western Australian agriculture and food.
The Minister will visit Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar as part of the 16-day visit, with representatives from the Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA).
Mr Chance said the Middle East continued to be a major destination for WA live sheep, live cattle, meat, wheat and horticultural products.
“WA agricultural and fisheries exports to the Middle East have almost doubled during the past 10 years, averaging a value of about $1billion per year,” he said.
“Exports to the Middle East represent nearly 20 per cent of WA’s total agriculture and fisheries exports.”
“In 2006-07, 3.3 million live sheep and lambs, valued at $228million, were exported from WA to the region including major markets such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan and Bahrain. Exports to the region accounted for 99 per cent of total WA sheep exports.”
The Minister will meet with the Libyan Secretary of the General People’s Committee for Agriculture, Animal and Marine Wealth, Dr Abubaker Al Mansouri, to review the progress of dryland research infrastructure.
Mr Chance said the project was established in May 2007 following a Libyan delegation visit to WA, with the aim of exploring and improving opportunities for exports of WA livestock, meat, and grain to the country.
“Libya was keen to utilise the expertise within the DAFWA to establish research centres, which will focus on dryland farming technology integrated with community-based revegetation and technology for semi-arid agriculture,” he said.
“I will also meet up with a DAFWA team in Dubai to follow up on the Soil Survey Project they have been working on for the past two years.
“The project involves surveying the entire area of the Abu Dhabi Emirate to identify land suitable for irrigated agriculture.”
The Minister said he would explore the potential development of feedlot and meat processing facilities, which would be essential for the resumption of WA livestock exports to Egypt.
“It is important for Western Australia to maintain these key markets whilst also exploring new opportunities to further expand the State’s livestock industry,” Mr Chance said.
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