Beef on Thai visitor's menu

Glenn CordingleyThe West Australian

The Kimberley has been showcased as a potential cattle and meat export supermarket to a high-profile delegation from Thailand.

The industry is now firmly on the country's radar after the visit to WA and the region last week from Government and beef industry representatives.

Trade and investment opportunities were examined during the three-day tour, facilitated through the Department of Agriculture and Food's Northern Beef Futures (NBF) project.

NBF agribusiness and investment development manager Daniel Marshall said a significant part of the tour was on the ground in the Kimberley.

The deputation was welcomed by Kimberley Cattleman's Association chairman Peter Camp before the visitors had a first-hand look at cattle stations including Gogo, Liveringa and Kilto.

They inspected abattoir facilities being developed by Jack Burton's Yeeda Pastoral Company between Derby and Broome.

The group also toured the Broome port and pre-quarantine facilities to learn more about the logistics involved in shipping cattle.

Mr Marshall said there was strong interest from Thailand in the cattle trade after the establishment of protocols for feeder cattle in late 2014.

"WA has been put on the radar," he said.

"There is a genuine interest to grow supply chain partnerships for feeder cattle from the northern region.

'The delegates indicated that they want to work with producers to create commercial relationships and to provide the market and cattle performance feedback straight back to producers.

"They were very impressed with the quality of the cattle and also with the irrigation systems to produce grass and sorghum as supplementary feed."

Mr Marshall said the delegates showed an interest in genetics, in particular the Brahman, Brahman-cross and Droughtmaster.

The group also visited the Muchea saleyards and export facilities in Fremantle.

The individuals represented commercial interests from the beef supply chain and Thai Government officials, including the Thai Ambassador and the Thailand Board of Investment.

The visit follows livestock missions to Thailand by representatives from NBF and the WA private sector during the past two years.

NBF is a four-year project funded by the State Government's Royalties for Regions program. It aims to transform the northern beef sector into a more prosperous, sustainable and resilient pastoral industry.

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