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7 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.

International Competitiveness Co-Investment Fund applications closing 12 August

Western Australian agrifood exporters are reminded that there are just days left to apply for a grant through DPIRD’s International Competitiveness Co-investment Fund (ICCF).

WA agrifood businesses can apply for grants to access and develop existing export markets, and to achieve consistent business growth through enhanced international competitiveness and strategic customer relationships in high value, premium export markets.

In particular, the ICCF program seeks to support existing WA exporters in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to maintain and further develop their business relationships with existing and new customers in Asia.

Grants between $50,000 and $100,000 are available to eligible businesses that meet the criteria listed on the ICCF website.

The closing date for the ICCF grants is 11 pm AWST next Wednesday 12 August 2020.  Find out more from the ICCF website.   More...  Source & Photo:  DPIRD

Webinar: Strategies for driving online traffic for food and beverage products

Broaden your understanding of digital marketing tactics, including search engine optimisation to drive online traffic and increase sales by taking part in this DPIRD workshop offered in partnership with Curtin University.

By the end of this two hour workshop – which has been designed for Western Australian food and beverage businesses – you will have gained knowledge of the digital consumer decision making process, paid and unpaid digital marketing channels and ultimately hands-on tactics to apply them to your business.

Key topics will include: Introduction to the Digital Consumer Decision Making Process; Digital Marketing ecosystem including paid and unpaid marketing channels (eg, email marketing, social media marketing, SEO/SEM, website design); Strategies for directing online traffic; Case studies and best practice examples.

Numbers are limited, so register now to secure your place.  While all interested people are welcome to register, attendance will be prioritised for WA food and beverage businesses if tickets sell out.  More...  Source:  DPIRD  |  Graphic:  iStock / DPIRD

Investing in skills for vital agricultural sector

Muresk Institute is set to become home to a new $7.5 million Specialist Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation to train farm machinery technicians in new and emerging technologies as part of the Western Australian Government's $167.4 million infrastructure investment in TAFE.
WA is Australia's largest grain-growing region and, as the rate of technology adoption escalates, the demand for agricultural machinery apprentices is expected to grow significantly.  The farm mechanisation sector is critical to good crop yields and profitability with about eight per cent of farming budgets spent on machinery repairs and maintenance.
A centralised specialist training centre was identified by industry as key to its success. Muresk has a rich history of providing world-class agricultural education and training and is uniquely placed to meet industry needs.  The new centre, coupled with industry partnerships and affordable and free training options for the agricultural sector, will help ensure a pipeline of skilled workers.
The project will include construction of two large machinery training workshops, covered hardstand area, classrooms and new training equipment.  In addition, $500,000 has been allocated towards a specialist shearing shed to provide practical training to students in wool handling and shearing.
A free short course in harvesting, as part of the $25 million Recovery Skillsets package, will also be available to provide training to meet the immediate and emerging skills needs of the multi-billion-dollar sector.  More...  Source:  WA Govt  |  Photo:  Muresk Institute

Oyster Harbour Zone opens up for South Coast aquaculture

The Western Australian Government is set to declare the first stage of a new aquaculture development zone in Albany – priming the pump for investment in shellfish farming and paving the way for an estimated 200 jobs. 
The State Government has invested $1.3 million to establish shellfish locations within the South Coast.  This investment is in addition to more than $2 million to build and expand the Albany Shellfish Hatchery, which provides the oyster spat to commercial operators in Albany and across WA.
Declaration of aquaculture development zones ensures approval and management frameworks are in place for start-up and growth opportunities for commercial-scale aquaculture proposals. 
Declaration of the zone in Albany coastal waters is a two stage process, with the first involving declaration of a 500-hectare area in Oyster Harbour.  Additional areas in Princess Royal Harbour and King George Sound will follow.
Applications are now open for aquaculture licences and leases within the Oyster Harbour area of the Albany Aquaculture Zone.
Relevant information is available on the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development website.  For more information, email aquaculture@dpird.wa.gov.au More...  |  WA Recovery Plan to fund Albany shellfish hatchery’s expansion  |  Source:  WA Minister for Fisheries  |  Graphic:  DPIRD 

Winning the battle for Shark Bay’s blue swimmer crabs

Shark Bay blue swimmer crabs are reporting their best season in more than a decade as local stocks rebound on the back of a long-term management plan.

After a decade long battle, Shark Bay’s blue swimmer crab population has bounced back following a sustainable management program rebuilding stocks after the 2010-2011 marine heatwave and multiple floodings decimated the fishery.

Today, the fishery is reporting sustainable catches of 650 tonnes per year, which is on par with historic records and represents around 45 per cent of the State’s total catch of blue swimmer crabs.

The success of the industry’s management plan is based on world-leading science and a commitment to sustainable fisheries.

Western Australian Fishing Industry Council chief executive, Alex Ogg, said the Shark Bay recovery was a great example of stakeholders working together to support healthier oceans and improved outcomes for fishers and communities.

“For a fishery management plan to be successful, two things are essential. Firstly, you need good marine science to understand what is happening with the fishery dynamics along with an ongoing monitoring program to adapt and adjust throughout a recovery period.

“Secondly, you need an industry that is committed to sustainability and following these rules to ensure milestones are met and the fishery has its best opportunity for full recovery.”

“The Shark Bay crab fishery presents an excellent example of both these elements working in synergy.”  More...  Source:  WAFIC  |  Photo:  DPIRD

Australia and Singapore sign digital trade agreement

Australia and Singapore have signed a landmark Digital Economy Agreement (DEA) to further enhance digital trade opportunities for businesses and consumers in both our nations.

Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham, who signed the Agreement with Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing in a virtual signing ceremony, said it would help to expand the scope of our economic engagement with our largest two-way trading partner in South-East Asia.

“Technology and digitisation continue to transform the way Australian businesses trade and interact with customers in key export markets including Singapore,” Minister Birmingham said.

“As we begin the economic recovery from COVID-19, this Agreement will reduce barriers and boost opportunities for Australian businesses to reach more customers and further tap into the Singaporean market.

“Singapore’s economy is dynamic, innovative and sophisticated and this will help to make it easier for Australian businesses to connect with the rising number of Singaporean businesses and consumers now engaged in cross-border digital trade.

“The Agreement will deliver practical improvements to lower costs and make it easier for exporters to do business, including in areas of personal data protection, e-invoicing, paperless customs procedures, and electronic certification for agricultural exports.

“These are some of the most ambitious digital trade rules Australia has ever negotiated, and this Agreement will serve as benchmark for other digital trade rule negotiations within our region."  More...  Source:  Federal Trade Minister / DFAT  |  Photo:  WA Agrifood Export eNews

Feedback sought on new animal export legislation

As part of a wider initiative to strengthen agricultural exports and market access, Australia is improving its agricultural export legislation.

The improvements will make the laws more relevant, responsive and efficient.  They will continue to provide the same level of regulatory oversight, remove duplication and ensure consistency across commodities where possible.  This will help exporters, farmers and other primary producers.

As part of this process, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) is seeking feedback on the Consultation Draft Export Control (Animals) Rules 2020.  These draft rules set out the operational details about how exports of live animals and animal reproductive materials will be regulated.  Once finalised, the rules will replace the existing regulations and orders.

Before providing feedback – via a survey – it is essential to read: Consultation Draft Export Control (Animals) Rules 2020; and Export Control Act 2020.  Provide your feedback using the online form.  Submissions are open until 21 August 2020.

If there is enough interest, an information session will be held to discuss the draft animals rules. Email exportlegislation@awe.gov.au to register your interest in participating.  More...  Source:  DAWE  |  Photo:  DPIRD

Australia’s export sector continues to boom despite ongoing challenges

Australia recorded its largest financial year trade surplus in 2019-20, off the back of booming goods exports, according to new data released this week from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The data shows that despite severe global economic shocks from COVID-19, Australia posted a record financial year trade surplus of $77.4 billion in 2019-20 with Australian goods exports growing by $9.29 billion or 2.5 per cent. Australia also recorded its 30th consecutive monthly trade surplus in June 2020, worth $8.2 billion, the second highest monthly trade surplus.

Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said the COVID-19 pandemic was testing all Australian producers and businesses, but this week''s data highlighted the incredible strength and resilience of our export sector.

“Despite the ongoing domestic and international challenges, Australian exporters across a range of sectors like resources, agriculture and advanced manufacturing continue to withstand global economic shocks and remain highly sought after in our key markets,” Minister Birmingham said.

“It is a credit to our hard-working exporters that even in these incredibly challenging economic times, their high-quality, safe and reliable product remains in demand around the world.

“Notwithstanding factors such as rising export costs and disruptions to supply-chains, our exporters continue to show incredible resilience and ability to navigate through these significant global economic headwinds."  More...  Source:  Federal Minister for Trade  |  Related:  Australian trade with China surges as rest of the world falls  Source:  SMH  |  Survival strategies for businesses during COVID-19 lockdown  Source:  The Economic Times  |  Photo: DPIRD [Port of Fremantle]

Launch of report on how to prosper in Asia

A landmark report by Asialink Business – Winning in Asia: Creating long-term value – will be launched in an online event next Tuesday 11 August 2020 at 9 am AWST. The result of two years of study, it provides vital insights for Australian chief executive officers who want to trade or invest in Asia.

The report unpacks some of the commonly held misconceptions on doing business with the region.  Delivering fresh evidence-based insights, it addresses significant questions raised by business leaders, investors and policymakers:  Does offshore expansion lead to superior returns?  Which companies have succeeded in Asia and what are their business models?  What capabilities do boards and senior executives need to enable corporate success in Asia? How can we best manage stakeholders, brand and reputation in Asian markets? Register by 10 August 2020.   More...  |  Related:  Have you started your application for an EMDG grant?  |  Source:  Austrade  |   Photo:  Austrade

Austrade: COVID-19 South Asia update for Australian exporters

There is increased demand across South Asia for products that are perceived to be good for the immune system, Austrade reports in its latest market insight.  In India and Bangladesh this applies to fresh produce, and in particular to Manuka honey from Australia.  Australian citrus is in high demand in Bangladesh as the local citrus season has ended.

The Indian food and beverage retail sector is attracting renewed investment, especially in e-commerce. The value of retail digital transactions rose from A$135.88 billion in April to A$196.88 billion in May, and the upward trend is expected to continue in June.

In India there is an increased demand for canola oil as urban Indian consumers switch to healthier cooking options.  There are opportunities for bulk imports from Australia as well as a packaged canola oil for retail.  More...  |  Related:  Latest insights from Austrade  |  Source:  Austrade  |  Photo:  DPIRD

Building e-commerce capability vital for future of wine industry

With COVID-19 slowing wine consumption in most major markets around the world and the on-premise channel expected to face a prolonged recovery, global wineries – including those in Australia – have been urged to look at developing stronger digital capabilities.
In a new report, COVID-19 and the US premium wine market, part II: building an e-commerce team 101, agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank says the crisis has forced wineries, where able, to lean heavily on the e-commerce channel for sales, and this has highlighted just how unprepared some were to manage their e-commerce activity as digital sales quickly became greater than one or two per cent of their revenues.
“Before COVID-19, many decision makers in the industry had not proactively invested in their digital capabilities and we’ve come across many large suppliers who did not even have one dedicated e-commerce employee, let alone a whole team,” senior wine analyst and report co-author Hayden Higgins said.

With many wine companies finally deciding to invest in e-commerce, the report identifies four critical steps wineries around the globe should consider as they seek to build a great e-commerce team.  The first involves ‘mapping the market’ – wine companies identifying which channels are most likely to be successful for their brands, both during the pandemic, and once it has ended.  The second step for companies was on-boarding the tech and building the necessary infrastructure.  The next key step, the report says, is educating people internally and externally.  The fourth and final key step for developing e-commerce capabilities was delegating most day-to-day digital operations.  More...  |  Related:  How are food giants getting through the crisis? (Audio recording) |  Source:  Rabobank  |  Diversity of Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area's wine industry key to strong recovery after COVID  Source:  Town & Country Magazine  |  Photo:  DPIRD / Kelsey Knight

The UK FTA: Opportunities for Australia

Join Austrade's next free trade agreements digital seminar on 19 August 2020 to hear about the progress of the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement and the potential opportunities. 

Australia and the UK launched negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) on 17 June 2020.  Australia is seeking an ambitious and comprehensive FTA with the UK that drives increased trade, two-way investment, economic growth and job creation.

The agreement will deepen our trade and investment relationships for the benefit of Australian businesses and consumers and play an important role in our post-COVID economic recovery.

Join the Australian High Commissioner to the UK, Australia’s Chief Negotiator and Austrade UK as they discuss the progress of the agreement and the potential opportunities.  Hear also from two Australian exporters on the benefits of Australia’s FTAs and the opportunities for Australian goods and services in the UK.

Please note that registrations open next Monday 10 August 2020.  More...  Source:  Austrade / DFAT  |  Photo:  WA Agrifood Export eNews

COVID-19 UK study shows more local food purchasing

Research carried out in the United Kingdom has found a move towards more ‘local’ food purchasing behaviour, and not as much food is being wasted or thrown away during COVID-19.

Undertaken by the Food Standards Agency and Ipsos MORI in England, Wales and Northern Ireland during April and May, the study monitored the experience and behaviours of consumers when it comes to key food risks during the pandemic.

The research shows 35 per cent of people buying ‘local’ food more often (11 per cent less often), and 35  per cent reported wasting or throwing away food less often (8 per cent less often).

The number of people who have skipped meals or cut down on meal sizes due to not having enough money remained stable between April (18 per cent) and May (16 per cent), and the number of people reporting eating food that had gone past its use-by date varied by food type, ranging from 17 per cent for smoked fish to 36 per cent for bagged salads.

The report also found people are buying fewer take-aways overall when compared to before lockdown, and purchasing from sources such as vendors on Facebook Marketplace (7 per cent April, 8 per cent May) and food-sharing apps (8 per cent April, 9 per cent May) remained stable.  More…  Source:  FSA  |  Related: COVID-19 has given consumers five new reasons to eat local  Source: Daphne Ewing-Chow / Forbes  |  Photo:  WA Agrifood Export News