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4 December 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.

Today’s newsletter is the last for this year. The first edition for 2021 will be out on Friday 22 January. We wish you a safe and festive holiday season and a happy New Year.

Science champion saluted for contribution to primary industries

One of the State's most tireless champions of agricultural science and its practical application is moving on from his post, after nearly four decades serving on the frontline of research and development in Western Australia.

DPIRD, Deputy Director General Primary Industries Development, Mark Sweetingham started his wide ranging career with the organisation as a plant pathologist 38 years ago.

Dr Sweetingham worked extensively in integrated disease management, agronomy and genetic improvement, particularly in lupins where he played a critical role in the anthracnose disease outbreak response, before moving into senior management.

Agriculture and Food Minister, Alannah MacTiernan paid tribute to Dr Sweetingham's contribution to the growth of WA's primary industries, as both a scientist and a leader.

"Mark is a respected researcher, who brought his experience at the bench and in the paddock from his formative roles to redefine agrifood and farming systems research and development in the new department," the Minister said. 

"He has always been a passionate advocate of the importance of applied scientific research and development to boosting primary industry productivity and global competitiveness." More... Source: WA Minister for Agriculture & Food | Photo: DPIRD [Mark Sweetingham]

Grants supporting agrifood business export recovery

Western Australian agrifood and beverage businesses in the regions have been given a boost by the Western Australian Government to assist their recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on key Asian export markets.

The first round of grants from the International Competitiveness Co-investment Fund was released this week, with 11 recipients throughout the State sharing in $874,817.

The grants will provide recipients with the support and confidence to adapt their enterprises to the 'new normal' of doing business in today's dynamic and challenging global marketplace.

Recipients are anticipated to leverage more than $1.56 million from the grant investments, generating new opportunities and jobs, enabling businesses to grow and thrive to the benefit of regional economies and communities.  More...  Source:  WA Minister for Agriculture and Food  |  Photo:  DPIRD [Minister for Agriculture and Food, Alannah MacTiernan, announcing the grants this week with Peter Gilmore, Managing Director of Irongate Wagyu and Futari Wagyu.]

IFAM team thanks industry for resilience in 2020

The team that delivers the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) has praised Australian businesses for their resilience and hard work in keeping international trade flowing in 2020.

With travel restrictions severely limiting airfreight options this year, businesses across the nation needed to work harder than ever, including using IFAM to stay connected to overseas customers. The team explained that retaining these relationships supports Australia’s reputation as a reliable trading partner, which will be more important than ever as we adjust to a tougher new trading environment in 2021 and beyond.

The mechanism has enabled the export of over $3 billion worth of Australian products. WA’s biggest export under IFAM in 2020 was horticulture products, including the spectacular Geraldton Wax Wildflowers (pictured). Over 40 tonnes of Austpearl Flowers’ prized natives made their way to Amsterdam and Tokyo earlier this year.

The IFAM team acknowledged the importance of teamwork – between government departments, industry groups and businesses- to rebuild supply chains. The IFAM team extended their warmest thanks to all those who supported the program in 2020 and added that they look forward to continuing this collaboration in 2021.  Source: IFAM / Austrade  |  Photo:  Austpearl Flowers [Austpearl Flowers were just one of many WA businesses which utilised IFAM in 2020.]

Switch one meal for Aussie seafood

Australia’s seafood industry has called on consumers to support their local lobster industry as it reels from recent trade impacts, and to support the entire industry by committing to switch one meal for Australian seafood.

“If one per cent of the population committed to changing just one meal a week to locally sourced Australian seafood like prawns, salmon or snapper that would be more than 250,000 meals of Australian seafood on the table," Seafood Industry Australia Chief Executive Officer, Veronica Papacosta said. 

"For the festive season we’re asking consumers to change just one protein-meal to Australian seafood like our stunning rock lobster, a few dozen fresh oysters, a big, beautiful bowl of prawns or replace a roast with a whole, baked Australian fish."

She said his could mean the difference between a commercial fisher making or missing a mortgage payment, and a boat heading out of harbour, or spending another week docked.  More...  |  Related:  Australian seafood 'Fish Finder' now includes lobsters  Source:  SIA   |  FISH Magazine December 2020 edition now available  Source:  FRDC  |  Photo:  SIA

Austrade: Wine sales up in India

Wine sales in India in October this year were around 60% higher than in October 2019, Austrade reports in its latest South Asia update for Australian exporters. This is partly due to the gradual opening of hotels and restaurants across the country after the lockdown.  Online wine deliveries are increasing strongly in major cities, including Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.

The Indian Armed Forces have stopped purchases of imported liquor including wines. This is part of the central government's ‘localisation’ drive. This will impact imported wines. The Forces buy 100,000 cases of imported spirits and wines, and Australian brands currently have a 33% share of the imported wine market.

Australia’s award-winning Barokes Wines has launched its ‘wine in a can’ range in India. The brand is being imported by a Mumbai-based company and distributed across liquor retail chains in major cities. The brand is being positioned as an aspirational, affordable, on-the-go drink. Austrade is working on a wine-export diversification strategy to aid Australian beverages exporters.  More...  Source:  Austrade  |  Photo:  Wine Australia

Australia-Singapore digital trade agreement kicks off

The Australia-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement entered into force on 8 December 2020, setting a new global benchmark for digital trade rules and providing more digital trade opportunities for businesses and consumers in both countries.

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

Federal Trade Minister, Simon Birmingham said the Agreement would benefit Australia’s digital exports to Singapore, our largest two-way trading partner in South-East Asia.

“This Agreement sets a high standard of rules for digital trade and will transform the way Australian businesses operate and interact with Singaporean businesses and consumers,” Minister Birmingham said. 

If you have any questions about this Agreement, please contact the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Digital Trade team at digitaltrade@dfat.gov.au.  More...  Source:  Federal Minister for Trade / DFAT |  Photo: WA Agrifood Export eNews

ABARES: Farmgate value likely to hit $65 billion, but watch on trade

Australian farmgate production is expected to be $65 billion in 2020-21 on the back of the nation’s second largest winter crop and promising rainfall outlook.

The December quarter 2020 Agriculture Commodities report from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) points to continued recovery for the farming sector from drought – and resilience in the face of COVID-19.

“Overall, Australian agricultural production is bouncing back from the drought,” ABARES Executive Director Dr Steve Hatfield-Dodds said.

“Australian producers manage one of the most variable environments in the world so ebbs and flows in production are to be expected."

The report says that while production is forecast to rise by seven per cent to $65 billion, exports are expected to fall by seven per cent from last year to $44.7 billion. More... Source: ABARES | Related: Farmer confidence surges as positive season and commodity prices outweigh COVID and trade concerns Source: Rabobank | Photo: ABARES