V&V Walsh opens Mongolian abattoir

Brad ThompsonThe West Australian
Peter and Greg Walsh with other guests at the abattoir opening.
Camera IconPeter and Greg Walsh with other guests at the abattoir opening. Credit: The West Australian

The brothers behind WA’s biggest meat processor have proved Chinese investment is not a one-way street with the opening of one of the world’s biggest abattoir in Inner Mongolia.

Greg and Peter Walsh were in Xilinhot yesterday to launch their joint venture with Grand Farm, China’s biggest importer of red meat from Australia and New Zealand.

Peter Walsh said about 28 family members made the journey to watch Bunbury-based V&V Walsh enter a new era built around his friendship with Chen Xibin, the president of Grand Farm and senior figure in China’s Beef and Lamb Association.

V&V Walsh has a 10 per cent stake in the abattoir, which has capacity to process 10,000 lambs and 1000 cattle a day.

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Mr Walsh said the abattoir would be supported by undercover feedlots in the next stage.

Grand Farm is set to spend up to $1 billion in Inner Mongolia and the WA Government has talked up the prospect of the company investing $200 million in WA to boost processing at V&V Walsh. Mr Walsh said he was reluctant to talk numbers but described the demand for lamb and beef as “unlimited”.

Grand Farm imported 200,000 tonnes of lamb last year, most of it coming from New Zealand.

Mr Walsh said New Zealand, strongly represented at yesterday’s opening, had the upper hand in trade but Australia would gain market share as tariffs on imports were phased out under the free-trade agreement between Canberra and Beijing.

“This is the most modern and efficient abattoir I have seen in my life,” he said. “It is an honour to be involved with Grand Farm and our business will go from strength to strength as a result.

“You hear a lot about Chinese investment. We are doing it in reverse and it is a win-win.”

Grand Farm is expected to import big volumes of meat in carcass and broken form for boning during the winter in Inner Mongolia.

V&V Walsh stunned the rest of Australia and New Zealand last year when it won unprecedented access to the Chinese market.

It was granted the right to export beef, lamb and goat to China in chilled and frozen form in an historic breakthrough.

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