WA wheat for Saudis sets sail

Countryman

The desert sands of Saudi Arabia have given rise to a new market for WA wheat.

On Monday, 22,000 tonnes of WA wheat was loaded at Kwinana and the cargo will be topped up with 30,000 tonnes in Esperance this week.

The shipment, destined for Saudi Arabia, is the first of three totalling about 150,000 tonnes to be completed in coming months under a global tender won by CBH earlier this year.

It follows collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and Food to secure access to the Saudi market for WA wheat.

WA Agriculture Minister Terry Redman said the cargo being loaded at Kwinana and Esperance confirmed the establishment of a new market for the State's grain growers.

"It clearly shows the department work targeted along the supply chain has yielded a significant economic opportunity for WA's grain industry," he said.

In October last year, an initial 55,000-tonne shipment became the first bulk cargo of WA wheat to arrive in the kingdom in more than 20 years.

CBH Grain marketing manager Tom Puddy said CBH had been working with the Grains Silos and Flour Mills Organisation, Saudia Arabia's sole grain importer, since the importer changed its tender specifications relating to protein and ergot in April 2010, allowing Australian wheat access to the market.

Since 2008, Saudi Arabia has purchased 4.1 million tonnes of wheat, most of which sourced from the US, Canada, Germany, the Black Sea region, and now Australia.

Wheat imported into the Saudi Arabian market is predominantly used for milling into flour.

It is then packaged and supplied for use in consumer food products across the kingdom.

The push for new wheat prospects is being driven by the Saudi Government's wish to phase out its own irrigated wheat production by 2016 in a bid to conserve water.

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