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14 August 2020

Western Australian Agrifood Export eNews

Agribusiness, commercial fishing and aquaculture news from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD).  If you have any questions or information to share, please email export@dpird.wa.gov.auSubscribe to Western Australian Agrifood Export eNews.

Food industry plan to support WA recovery efforts

The Western Australian Government is investing more than $40 million into Western Australia's primary industries to grow the State's food sector and create local jobs, as part of the WA Recovery Plan.

A suite of programs has been unveiled to drive business diversification and trade opportunities, develop the aquaculture industry, and support the expansion of the premium food and beverage manufacturing industry.
A key initiative is a $16.7 million four-year Food and Beverage Fund, which will drive jobs and State-wide investment through grant funding to agrifood businesses for capital expansion, relocation or feasibility studies to grow local processing.
The first component of the initiative kicks off today with the Value Add Investment Grants – a $6.5 million investment incentive scheme which will supercharge agricultural value-adding and processing from across metropolitan and regional WA.
Local food and beverage businesses can access matching funding to expand processing operations, taking WA's top-quality fresh produce and turning it into a processed product for market - from breweries and bakeries to abattoirs and canning facilities.

More information on the Food and Beverage Fund and the Value Add Investment Grants program are available from the DPIRD website More...  Source:  WA Premier / Minister for Agriculture & Food / Minister for Fisheries |  Photo:  DPIRD

WA agrifood exports show resilience in June

Agrifood exports out of Western Australia rose in June compared to the same month in 2019, highlighting how valuable the sector has become to economic recovery in the State.

WA agrifood exports rose to $560 million in June 2020, a 20 per cent increase on June 2019, and a 10 per cent increase on the five-year average for June.

Agrifood trade had taken a large hit early on in the COVID pandemic, but the gap has steadily closed since then.

The biggest contributor to this increase was wheat exports which were up almost 50 per cent in value in June this year compared with June 2019.

Liam O'Connell, DPIRD's Executive Director of Agribusiness, Food and Trade says the State's agrifood sector has weathered the COVID storm better than many other sectors of the economy.

"While conditions remain challenging, it is very encouraging to see resilience in the sector."  

“Not only did we see the large increase in the monthly June trade figures, the current level of enquiries within DPIRD for new and expanding agribusiness is up 16 per cent over a five-year average,” Mr O’Connell said.

Investment is expected to be among the hardest hit parts of the economy in 2020 and 2021 with forecasts that Australian business investment will fall to its lowest point as a share of the economy in almost two decades, according to the Deloitte Access Economics’ latest Investment Monitor.

Outside of the mining sector, investment in WA remains weak, according to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia in its Outlook - Eye of the Storm report released this month.

"The Food and Beverage Fund and Value Add Investment Grants program announced today will boost investment in the agrifood sector and provide further stimulus needed to help businesses through these difficult trading times,” Mr O’Connell said.

DPIRD also recently released the Western Australian Industry Snapshots which highlight emerging opportunities to drive future investment in the State’s expanding primary industries.

Mr O'Connell said he and his team welcome investment enquiries from WA food producers and exporters, by emailing export@dpird.wa.gov.au.  Source:  DPIRD / Deloitte Access Economics / CCIWA |  Related:  Pandemic to slow down ag investment  Source:  Farm Weekly  |  Photo:  DPIRD 

Virtual masterclasses to drive investor readiness

Western Australian businesses are encouraged to register for a new series of virtual masterclasses aimed at helping business owners navigate the steps involved in the capital-raising process.

DPIRD has contracted consulting firm BDO Australia to present a series of four masterclasses running in two separate blocks.

The first block will run from 26 August to 14 October and the second from 28 October to 9 December.  This series is to benefit and support WA's small and medium-sized enterprises.

Participants will have access to expert advice from BDO Australia under the topics of 1) Maximising Your Value, 2) Know Your Numbers, 3) People and Processes, and 4) Business Valuation and Exit Strategies.

DPIRD Business Development Manager Peter May said the masterclasses would help businesses realise growth opportunities that are dependent on access to external funding.

He said the virtual delivery of the workshops would ensure they were accessible to a wide range of businesses operating in many industries across the state.

“These workshops are the latest step in the department’s Investor Readiness Program, which produced a series of webinars in conjunction with BDO Australia earlier this year, and will soon have available a range of supporting printed and online materials,” Mr May said.  More...  Source:  DPIRD / BDO  |  Graphic:  DPIRD 

New IFAM flights out of Perth

New flight capacity under the Federal Government's International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) has just been announced which will be of benefit to Western Australian exporters of high value agricultural and fisheries produce.

The following routes are now available:  Perth to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific, departing Thursdays (commencing 20 August); Perth to Xiamen (via Hong Kong) with Cathay Pacific, departing Thursdays (commencing 20 August); Perth to Singapore with Emirates, departing Thursdays (commenced 6 August).

For further details on availability IFAM flights, see the latest outbound flight schedule and the inbound flight schedule.

Exporters should speak to their freight forwarder and visit the IFAM webpage for further information on grant assistance.  If you have any questions or need more information, please email Airfreight@austrade.gov.au, or Austrade State Director WA, Jane Caforio, on jane.caforio@austrade.gov.auMore...  Source:  IFAM / Austrade  |  Photo:  Cathay Pacific

DPIRD's agrifood and fisheries export services portal

Western Australian agrifood exporters can access export-related services through DPIRD’s online portal, which brings together services offered by government and industry bodies.

The Agrifood and Fisheries Export Services Portal brings more than 100 State and national services into a central source, for ease of access and reference for agriculture and food businesses.

Agriculture and food businesses can access through the Portal services including grants, market intelligence and export marketing strategy, and financial assistance.

Users can choose from a service category, delivery category or service provider to produce a bespoke list of export-related services.

While the portal was originally launched in 2018, many of the services available through organisations listed on the portal have been updated to help companies navigate the difficulties of exporting in the current climate.

If you require further assistance, please email export@dpird.wa.gov.auMore...  Source & Graphic:  DPIRD

Harvest Road Oceans sets sustainable pace for shellfish aquaculture

The demand for juvenile shellfish, commonly known as 'spat', to stock grow-out farms around Western Australia has more than tripled growth expectations, indicating strong commercial interest and confidence in WA's aquaculture industry.

The WA Government's decisions to expand facilities to add more supply capacity and to provide new investment-ready locations for shellfish farms is helping underpin this confidence and to support investment by companies, such as Harvest Road Oceans. 

As the State's biggest shellfish farming company, Harvest Road Oceans has made a substantial investment through the launch of a new sustainable seafood brand 'Leeuwin Coast'.

In the Albany area, Harvest Road holds licences for shellfish farming sites in Oyster Harbour and King George Sound. It also holds licences for areas in Cockburn and Warnbro Sounds and is carrying out trials in other coastal areas to assess their suitability for oyster farming.

Last Friday the WA Government declared the first stage of the Albany Aquaculture Development Zone (Oyster Harbour). This will provide an additional 500 hectares for shellfish production in Albany.

The Government has already invested $1.3 million to establish the Albany Shellfish Hatchery and announced a further $700,000 in funding to expand infrastructure at the hatchery in order to address rising industry demand as part of the WA Recovery Plan.  More...  Source:  WA Minister for Fisheries  |  Photo:  Harvest Road Oceans

Producers use live streaming to connect with Chinese consumers

Austrade says the live streaming of Western Australian rock lobsters as they arrived in China in late April this year shows that agribusinesses and food exporters can consider the channel to complement their other sales and marketing strategies.

The principal appeal of live streaming is that it creates new pathways for producers to reach a potential audience.  Live streaming also creates a personal connection with consumers.  And the opportunity to live stream to customers in China creates new channels for Australian exporters.

The online digital economy in China is already one of the most developed in the world, with a staggering 854 million internet users, and live streaming is being used by marketers, broadcasting content – such as interviews and cooking displays – in real-time. 

Digital marketing analysts in China say live streaming is extremely popular with merchants and consumer-facing brands.  According to Guangzhou-based iiMedia Research, approximately 504 million people in China observed online live streaming content in 2019, a year-on-year increase of 10.6 per cent.  It is estimated that the figure will rise to 526 million in 2020.  More...  Source:  Austrade  |  Related: Winning in Asia: Creating long-term value  Source: Asialink Business  |  Photo:  Alibaba

Pathway to unlocking digital power in the agricultural sector

A “game-changing” four-step pathway to help unlock the power of technology for the agricultural sector has been outlined in a newly-released global report by agribusiness specialist Rabobank. 

The report, Digital Pathway to Power: the Trigger for a Deeper Relationship between Farmers and the Supply Chain, details the key considerations for farmers, farm input companies and other supply chain businesses to increase accuracy in their business decision-making by implementing and better using technology.

This could include everything from fertiliser and ag chem application, to optimal stock feeding programs.  Initially, the benefits would be improved decision-making and increased return on investment in new technologies, the bank says.

But over time, “we believe this approach will be a game changer for agricultural supply chains”, says the report author, Rabobank agricultural analyst Wes Lefroy.  More...  |  Related:  Data-Sharing Lessons From COVID-19  |  Source:  Rabobank  |  Related: Farmers tapping into subscription model to sell farm fresh produce direct to consumers  Source: ABC News  |  Related:  Digital Farm Grants program  Source:  DPIRD  |  Photo:  DPIRD

Global grains markets look to Australia to fill impending European export shortfall

All eyes are on Australia’s developing winter crop as global grains markets look to Australia to offset a poor European harvest hit by drought, an international grains strategist has told local growers.

Rabobank London-based global grains and oilseeds strategist Stefan Vogel, speaking on the bank’s Australian Grain Mid-season Webinar, said when it comes to wheat and canola in particular, “we are all looking for good crops in Australia to make up the shortfall caused by the poor season in Europe”.

Mr Vogel said after an excellent 2019-20 European harvest where the European Union exported 38 million tonnes of wheat, this year’s EU export volumes are set to fall at least 10 million tonnes with most European grain-growing nations – including France, Germany, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria – beset by dry conditions and poor yields.  While Ukraine, another significant global wheat exporter, is expecting an almost 10 per cent smaller crop than last year.  More...  | Related:  Australia’s winter crop planting set to soar more than 25 per cent  | Source:  Rabobank  |  Photo:  DPIRD

Virtual Meet the Buyer: Vietnam

Australian agribusiness exporters will have the opportunity to attend a one-to-one video conference, in a private and secured virtual meeting room, with qualified buyers from Vietnam interested in your products.  These buyers represent Vietnam’s major supermarket chains, convenience stores, e-commerce platforms, distributors, food service, importers, and more.

Run by Food Innovation Australia (FIAL) from 7 am until 3 pm AWST on 10 September 2020, this Virtual Meet the Buyer initiative overcomes the hurdle of travel restrictions, facilitating vital connections between exporters and key international markets.

As the Food and Agribusiness Growth Centre, FIAL is an industry-led, government funded initiative to collaboratively fuel growth throughout the food and agribusiness industry.

There is no cost for the initial registration.  If a meeting is secured with a buyer, a $35 administration fee applies. For further information, please contact Rod Arenas at rod.arenas@fial.com.au.  More...  Source:  FIAL  |  Photo:  DFAT

Austrade: Imported cheese price falls 8 per cent in Japan

The price of imported cheese has fallen 8 per cent to the lowest level since early 2017, Austrade reports in its latest market insight.  The transaction price of imported cheese is negotiated semi-annually between overseas dairy producers and Japanese trading companies. Imports from Australia and New Zealand, which account for about half of the imports, have a large impact on prices in the domestic market. The pandemic has led to a significant decline in cheese demand at restaurants worldwide. 

Austrade says Japan’s frozen foods warehouse space remains tight, owing to high demands for existing products that have been impacted by supply-chain slowdowns. This may impact Australian exporters and lead to increased logistics costs if smaller shipments have to be dispatched more frequently.

According to a Nikkei News survey conducted with 100 major Japanese restaurant chain operators, roughly 1200 restaurants are expected to close this year.  The number of new stores will also remain low at 600. Restaurant chains struggled to regain customers in July, and this may impact large-volume food suppliers in Australia. 

Australia exported $458.6 million of cheese to Japan (76.8 million kilograms) in 2019-20, although Western Australia didn’t export any dairy to Japan over this period.  More…  |  Related:  Latest insights from Austrade  |  Source:  Austrade / Kate Pritchett, DPIRD  |  Photo:  DPIRD

Horticulture Exports Program – Application for the export of table grapes to protocol markets

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) has advised in its latest Industry Advice Notice that applications are now open for the accreditation of farms and packhouses, and the registration of treatment facilities, to export table grapes to protocol markets for the 2020–21 season: China, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam.

Table grape farm and packhouse managers wanting to export to protocol markets can complete application forms through the table grape export registration system.  Applications must be completed by 3 pm A\WST, Friday, 28 August 2020. Late submissions will not be accepted.

If you have any questions regarding the table grapes export registration system, please email Jscott@atga.net.au and any questions regarding this notice, please email horticultureexports@awe.gov.auMore...  Source:  DAWE  |  Photo:  DPIRD

WTO: COVID-19 may push up trade costs

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has warned in a new information note released yesterday of possible increases to trade costs due to COVID-19 disruptions. 

The note examines the pandemic’s impact on key components of trade costs, particularly those relating to travel and transport, trade policy, uncertainty, and identifies areas where higher costs may persist even after the pandemic is contained.

It estimates travel and transport costs account for as much as a third of trade costs depending on the sector.  Pandemic-related travel restrictions are therefore likely to affect trade costs for as long as they remain in place.

For example, the WTO says global air cargo capacity shrank by 24.6 per cent in March 2020, as passenger flights account for around half of air cargo volumes. The resulting increase in air freight prices is likely to subside only with a rebound in passenger transport, according to the note.

While sea and land transport have not faced comparable shocks, maritime transport has seen a decrease in numbers of sailings, while international land transport has been affected by border closures, sanitary measures and detours.

Business travel, which is important for maintaining trading relationships and managing global value chains, in addition to being a significant economic activity in its own right, is being disrupted.

The WTO says the quality of information and communications technology infrastructure and digital preparedness will be important in determining how well economies can cope.  More...  Source & Photo:  WTO