A Western Dairy board member says the West Australian dairy industry should compete directly with the eastern states in supplying Asian exports.
Ruth McGregor presented her argument at the China Agribusiness Co-operation Conference in Perth on April 9.
Ms McGregor says although the WA dairy market is a small portion of Australia’s overall production, the quality of the product sets it apart.
She says approximately 90 per cent of WA milk is grade one standard as opposed to approximately 25 per cent of grade one milk in eastern states.
“We offer a very high quality product here, which is ideal for bulk milk transport for export.”
But Ms McGregor says the dairy industry needs to grow to meet export demand, but growth will only occur when confidence is guaranteed.
She says milk value needs to be recognised, including improved farm gate returns, which she says has not been recognised to date.
“This [export] is an opportunity that would help achieve that.
“If we’ve got an export market, suddenly there’s an avenue for milk to go, which puts pressure on the domestic milk supply so the demand for that supply is increased, so the value would go up.”
The WA dairy industry has recently received a boost to its export opportunities with Italian dairy group Parmalat’s acquisition of the family-owned south-west fruit juice and dairy processor Harvey Fresh.
Parmalat CEO Craig Garvin says there is a lot of growth potential in Harvey Fresh and a ‘strong capability for export’.
Source: ABC Rural