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3 July 2020

Western Australian Agrifood Export eNews

Agribusiness, commercial fishing and aquaculture news from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.  Please email export@dpird.wa.gov.au if you have any questions or information to share.  Click here to subscribe to this newsletter.

Exporting avocados to Japan

Agribusiness Food and Trade team members from the Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) joined Avocados Australia and the federal Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (DAWE) last week to deliver a workshop for avocado growers and packers on exporting avocados to Japan. 

Opened by Avocados Australia Chief Executive Officer, John Tyas – who provided an overview of Australian avocado production and export trends – the workshop was presented in dual format, with the thirty participants attending the DPIRD-hosted event in Manjimup in person or via Zoom.  

DPIRD Principal Trade Consultant Fiona Goss explained her department's role in trade and export development, giving an overview of WA avocado production, export market opportunities and market insights, including retail pricing in Japan, gathered with assistance from the WA Government overseas office in Tokyo.

Key messages from Ms Goss were: the number of trees planted in WA not of bearing age (currently 40 per cent) is still continuing to grow; market diversification (to export) is becoming increasingly important; WA avocado exports have doubled each year for the past three years and is now at $4.63 million; new market access for Japan occurred in 2018 and negotiations with Thailand and India are under way; and a DPIRD-funded sensory analysis study revealed favourable Japanese consumer preferences for the texture and flavour of Australian avocados, which are also on par with premium Mexican brand Promich Gold.

Other presenters were Peter Ikin, DAWE's Assistant Director of the Horticulture Export Program, who gave insights into Japan's registration process, and protocols for export of fresh Hass Avocado fruit from Australia to Japan; and Gyan Chand, also from DAWE, who provided guidance for growers and packers on how to meet the requirements and prepare for audit by Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.  Source & Photo:  DPIRD

Western/Australia and Indonesia – an enduring partnership

As near neighbours, Western Australia has a close and longstanding trade relationship with Indonesia.  WA was the first Australian state to open a trade office in Indonesia in 1992 and we have been servicing this important relationship ever since.  This year marks the 30th anniversary of our sister state relationship with East Java.

The WA Government's Commissioner in Jakarta, Jennifer Mathews, said Indonesia is a priority market under the State’s Asian Engagement Strategy and offers industry the opportunity for market diversification in the rapidly growing ASEAN region.

"Indonesia is an important market for WA exports of agricultural commodities, particularly wheat and live animals," Ms Mathews said.  "In 2019, Indonesia was WA’s largest market for live animals and fourth largest market for wheat."

She said there are some exciting trends which make Indonesia a market well worth exploring.

"Driven by population growth and changing consumer needs, Indonesia’s beef consumption is expected to grow by 20 per cent by 2021," Ms Mathews said.  "Growth in discretionary family income and western-style consumer tastes presents an opportunity for WA premium food and beverage products."

Specific opportunities exist for WA suppliers of meat, vegetables, fruit, seafood, dairy and gourmet foods (prepacked salads, yoghurt, chocolates, nougat, honey and olives).

"Demand for food ingredients and innovative technologies for Indonesia’s substantial local food-processing sector is also growing," she said.  "With its safe and high-quality product, WA agricultural producers are well placed to take advantage of these opportunities."

The Indonesia–Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) offers improved market access for WA exporters of agribusiness and food products, providing a competitive edge over producers from other markets.

IA-CEPA includes the introduction of tariff rate quotas (duty free access up to certain quotas) for live male cattle (up to 575,000 head in year one); feed grain (up to 500,000 tonnes in year one); oranges and lemons (up to 10,000 tonnes and 5,000 tonnes in year one); and tariff reductions in frozen beef, sugar, dairy, mandarins, potatoes and carrots.

"This is the first time Indonesia has opened its feed grain sector to the Australian market and this will provide WA with a competitive edge in the export of grain for animal feed, a growing industry in Indonesia as it seeks to become self-sufficient in food and animal production, she said.  "The allocation of quotas for feed grain is being managed by the federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment."

Ms Mathews welcomes trade enquiries from WA exporters, so please feel free to contact her at Jennifer.Mathews@jtsi.wa.gov.au.  For general enquiries, connect with the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation Invest and Trade team or the Department of Primary Industries and Regional DevelopmentMore...  Source: WA Govt Indonesia Office  |  Photo:  JTSI / Getty Images

IFAM extended to help food exporters during COVID-19

The Australian Government has committed an additional $241.9 million to continue the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM), helping keep international freight routes and flights operating until the end of the year.

The new funding will keep high-value, time sensitive and perishable exports and vital imports – such as medical supplies and other essential items – flowing as we continue the economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. It will also re-establish domestic connections for producers and growers in regional and rural areas that rely on air freight to get their products to customers.

This funding is in addition to the $110 million announced in April to establish the IFAM under the $1 billion Relief and Recovery Fund to support regions, communities and industry sectors disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

With few international passenger flights at present, restoring global supply chains has been vital to maintaining relationships between Australian businesses and their customers around the world. Since April, the IFAM has made it possible to keep goods flowing into and out of Australia and has been critical to the nation’s response to the global pandemic.

To date, the IFAM has helped secure carriage for over 36,000 tonnes of products between April and August to 50 international destinations. By reconnecting global supply chains, the IFAM has also supported the import of critical medical supplies.  Even though the IFAM is being extended, it’s important to remember it is a temporary, emergency measure in response to an extraordinary situation.

The extension will give Australian businesses more time to re-engineer their business models and adjust to a new and tougher trading environment created by COVID-19.  Businesses can continue to access the IFAM by registering their interest here at or by contacting their freight forwarder.

Visit the IFAM website for more information on the scheme and the latest flight schedules.  More... Source:  Austrade  |  Freight flights boost for Australian exporters  Source: Federal Trade Minister  |   Related: International Freight Assistance Mechanism extended to help food exporters during pandemic  Source:  ABC News  |  Extension of investment in airfreight critical to continuing Australian vegetable exports during COVID-19  Source:  AUSVEG  |  Photo: Austrade

Grants spur growth opportunity for regional agrifood businesses

The Western Australian Government will provide $4.2 million to support an array of value-adding opportunities for regional food and beverage businesses that will grow jobs across the State.  

Twenty-four food and beverage manufacturers and value-add processors across WA have been announced today as successful recipients under the Value Add Agribusiness Investment Attraction Fund's second funding round.

The grants will support regional expansion, diversification, de-risking and technology investment activities, from the South Coast to the Kimberley.
Projects range from new honey processing and packaging equipment in the Great Southern to the expansion of a canola oil plant in the Wheatbelt and seafood processing improvements at Denham.  More...  Source:  WA Minister for Agriculture and Food  |  Photo:  DPIRD [ Minister Alannah MacTiernan visiting Honey Earth Produce today. The company received $83 376 for the construction and fit-out of honey processing and packaging facility.]

Hong Kong market opens for Pemberton Fresh

Pemberton Fresh sent its first 4 tonnes of premium air freight fresh Western Australian potatoes to Hong Kong’s Dairy Farm Group in early June.

Pemberton Fresh – from the State's South West – is the key Australian supplier to Hong Kong retailer Dairy Farm Group's potato house brand, Meadows.  The Meadows brand – particularly using Australian red and white potatoes  – has initially been launched into Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia, with other markets to follow in the coming months.

Pemberton Fresh Director, Ben Della Vedova, said the opportunity presented an annual supply of up to 400 tonnes initially – or around 1 per cent of WA’s fresh potato market – with opportunity for growth.  He said Pemberton Fresh’s partnership with the Dairy Farm Group and development of its house brand has been 18 months in the making.

Pemberton Fresh worked with Austrade and the Department of Primary Industry and Regional Development, with both the Export Market Development Grant and the Asian Market Success programs enabling the company to build a solid support team to achieve this success.  Source:  Pemberton Fresh  |  Related: Pemberton Fresh inks Hong Kong supermarket deal  Source:  The West Australian [paid subscription]  |  Photo:  Pemberton Fresh

Indonesia-Australia trade agreement launch

The Indonesia–Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) formally enters into force on 5 July 2020, opening new opportunities for Australian and Indonesian businesses, primary producers, service providers and investors.

You are invited to join a webinar with Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, who will be discussing the importance of the agreement, the mutual benefits of a closer economic engagement between Indonesia and Australia, and its role in enhancing security and stability in the region.

Hear from a distinguished panel of business leaders, discussing the benefits that IA-CEPA will bring to Australian companies, and learn from their experiences on the real challenges and opportunities of doing business in the largest economy in the ASEAN region.

This event will take place on 9 July 2020 at 12.30 pm AWST, hosted by the Australia Indonesia Business Council in partnership with the Australian Government and supported by BlueScope Steel, Coca-Cola Amatil, Monash University and Ionize Cyber Security. 

For further information about IA-CEPA, please visit the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade IA-CEPA webpage, or contact DFAT by email at ia-cepa@dfat.gov.au or call 02 6261 1111.  More...  Source:  DFAT / Austrade |  Photo:  Jakarta Tourism

Harvest Road eyes new aquaculture opportunities

Aquaculture producer Harvest Road Group has outlined plans to expand its operations and build capacity for Western Australia's regional centres by growing the State's capacity and reputation as a sustainable and efficient source of food protein in years to come.

With aquaculture bases in Albany, Perth and Carnarvon already established, Harvest Road is now looking at further opportunities to build its burgeoning protein food company.

Group Chief Executive Officer, Greg Harvey, said his company's land-based food operations through Harvey Beef were already well known and established, so the move into aquaculture is a logical step forward.

“When Harvest Road was formed a couple of years ago it set a strategy to move into aquaculture as part of its overall protein food vision. It makes absolute sense to leverage our Harvey Beef business as a pathway into well-managed sustainable aquaculture.”

Further expansion will include the addition of new aquaculture species as well as downstream activities, such as value-added processing, which will form part of an integrated value chain.

The company is also exploring non-traditional extensions to generate revenues and enhance community understanding of the role aquaculture plays as a source of sustainable seafood. More...  Source:  WAFIC  |  Photo:  Harvest Road / WAFIC

Agricultural freight strategy sets course for future freight needs in WA

Western Australia's Revitalising Agricultural Region Freight Strategy was released this week, setting the direction for future investment in freight infrastructure in the key agricultural regions of the State.
The strategy provides a framework and consolidated project packages that prioritise future investment in road, rail, intermodal and port infrastructure projects for the next 10 to 15 years in the key agricultural regions of the Mid-West, Wheatbelt, Great Southern and Goldfields-Esperance.
The proposed 20 priority project packages are specifically aimed at addressing challenges relating to the need to improve rail infrastructure, establish intermodal terminals, undertake targeted road network investment, increase heavy vehicle access and improve regulatory efficiency.  More...  Source:  WA Minister for Transport / WA Minister for Agriculture & Food  |  Photo:  DPIRD

Austrade: Increased demand for pork in Vietnam

Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development says Vietnam imported over 70,000 tonnes of pork in the first five months of 2020, an increase of more than 300 per cent year-on-year amid an outbreak of African swine fever, Austrade reports in its latest market insight.

Australia is one of Vietnam’s potential source countries to satisfy this strong import demand.

Vietnam is considering reopening international flight routes with China, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and Laos.

The government is working on a process to allow foreign specialists, investors, managers and skilled workers to re-enter Vietnam. Vietnam Airlines and Bamboo Airways are expected to resume international flights from July.  More... Source:  Austrade  |  Photo:  DPIRD

Record exports of WA sheepmeat and mutton

The value of production from the Western Australian sheep industry reached $1.5 billion in 2018-19, with wool worth $976 million and sheepmeat $547 million, the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development reports in its latest Sheep Notes.

While overall this was a 4 per cent decrease in production from $1.6 billion in 2017-18, WA sheepmeat exports reached 84.1 million kilograms in 2019, worth $596.6 million – the highest on record.

WA mutton exports totalled 44.2 million kilograms, a year-on-year increase of 27 per cent, and were worth $259.2 million, up 52 per cent year-on-year – also the highest on record.

The largest sheepmeat markets in 2019 were China, Qatar and the USA.

As of July 2019, the WA sheep flock contained 14.3 million sheep and lambs, including 7.8 million breeding ewes.  More…  Source & Photo: DPIRD

Webinar: ASEAN e-commerce – Accessing 650 million consumers

According to The ASEAN Post, the value of ASEAN’s e-commerce has expanded seven times in just four years, rising from US$5.5 billion in 2015 to over US$38 billion in 2019. The sector is on track to exceed US$150 billion by 2025 – US$50 billion more than projections made over a year ago – on the back of stronger than anticipated growth.

Digital consumers in ASEAN will be spending three times as much in 2025, according to an October 2019 study from Facebook and global management consultants Bain and Company. The study found that while consumers in Southeast Asia spent an average of US$125 per person on online purchases in 2018, this is expected to more than triple to US$390 per person in 2025.

As consumption behaviours of ASEAN residents continue to evolve, and economies recover from the impact of COVID-19, we need to prepare for a new way of doing business.

This webinar by the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation (Invest and Trade WA), taking place on 9 July 2020 at 3 pm AWST, will provide an update on the ASEAN e-commerce market, emerging trends, growth drivers, regulations, routes to market and opportunities for partnering with ASEAN’s online companies.  Speakers will be: John Catlin, WA Government Commissioner, ASEAN;  Daniel Havas, Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner, Malaysia and Brunei, Austrade; Prashasti Agrawal, Cross-Border E-Commerce, Shopee; and Hans-Peter Ressel, Founder and chief executive officer, Momentum Commerce.  More...  Source & Graphic:  JTSI 

IMF: Australia weathering COVID storm

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Australia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will perform better in 2020 than was feared just two months ago.  The IMF’s World Economic Outlook (WEO) now forecasts that Australia’s real GDP will contract by 4.5 per cent this year – after predicting a 6.7 per cent contraction in April.

If the forecast is accurate, Australia’s economy should weather the pandemic comparatively well, Austrade says in economic analysis released this week.  The WEO estimates Australia’s economic growth will rebound sharply with 4 per cent growth in 2021. This would leave the Australian economy broadly flat over the 2020–21 period.

Among the 30 developed and developing economies included in its latest WEO report, Australia emerges in near pole position. It is the only country to receive an upwards revision for 2020 of 2 per cent or more.  This upwards revision indicates that perceptions of Australia’s current performance are improving.  For advanced, emerging and developing economies, the IMF revised down its forecasts by an average 2 per cent.  More...  Source:  Austrade  |  Related: |  Related: How big business fought off COVID-19   Source:  ANZ  |  Reopening Asia: How the right policies can help economic recovery  Source:  IMF  |  Photo:  Tourism WA

ANU: Pandemic will cause globe $US21 trillion in economic pain

The global economy could lose up to $US21.8 trillion dollars in 2020 alone due to COVID-19, according to new analysis from The Australian National University (ANU).

The research, led by Professor Warwick McKibbin and Roshen Fernando, has modelled six new scenarios of the impact of the coronavirus on the world economy.

The scenarios range from containing COVID-19 in mid-2020, to ongoing waves of the virus over several years.  The researchers have also created an online dashboard to display their results.

Professor McKibbin said even under the best case scenario the global economy will lose up to $US14.7 trillion dollars.

"That's a massive hit, and that loss is based on the worst of COVID-19 being over by mid-2020 but with a smaller second wave in 2021," he said.

"Our modelling shows that if the virus isn't contained or if we have ongoing waves, the economic losses will climb quite steeply. The more waves we have the more losses we can expect."  More...  Source:  ANU  |  Related:  Learning from the Future  Source:  Harvard Business Review  |  Photo:  WA Agrifood Export eNews

WTO: Importance of facilitating safe agrifood trade

When responding to global crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, a coordinated approach is critical, and trade in agricultural and food products should not be unduly restricted, World Trade Organisation members stressed at a meeting of the Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures last week.

Noting that agricultural and food production systems have been resilient, despite the considerable challenges over the past few months, members agreed that now, more than ever, respecting the key principles of the SPS Agreement is needed.

These principles include transparency and ensuring that trade measures have a sufficient scientific basis.  Even COVID-19 emergency measures must comply with the requirements of the SPS Agreement, members said.  More...  Source & Photo:  WTO

COVID-19 winners adopted technology early

COVID-19 has raised our awareness that there is a digital future, although not everyone has arrived there yet, Dr Minoo Zarbafi, the Berlin-based Vice President of Bertelsmann Investments, told a European Central Bank summit last Friday.

“When you look into those ones that have come out as winners of this crisis, they have certainly invested in technology very early on, and they either control it or own it, and that is clearly something to be considered going forward,” she said.

Christine Lagarde – President of the European Central Bank and former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund – told the summit COVID-19 may have a transformational effect, with new industries arising from changes caused by the pandemic.

"It could well be that what we have gone through collectively has transformed the way in which we look at what we value, what we price, that we understand better some costs," she said.  

Ms Lagarde also said the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fall in the Euro Zone due to COVID-19 is unprecedented, with the sharpest and deepest recession seen in recorded history – apart from wartime.

"In 2008-09 (Global Financial Crisis), we saw a decline in GDP of 5.7 per cent in five quarters. In the Sovereign Debt Crisis (2008-12), GDP fell 1.8 per cent over six quarters.  What we have in our Euro area forecast at the moment, just released in June, is a fall of GDP of about 16 per cent over two quarters.  So, sharpest and deepest ever recorded in non-war time," she said.  More... [from 27'10"]  Source & Photo:  European Central Bank