WA Agriculture Minister Jackie Jarvis has returned from a six-day industry trade mission to Thailand and Vietnam focused on promoting the State’s booming avocado and barley industries and bolstering boxed meat exports. Ms Jarvis was among several industry and government trade officials to kickstart the tour in Thailand on Monday, September 25, just weeks after WA Premier Roger Cook led a mega trade mission to Indonesia. The group gathered in Bangkok on Wednesday, September 27, to celebrate a new market access deal for WA avocados that came into effect last month — raising hopes WA could become the world’s “number one international avocado exporter”. A big part of the trip included meeting with importers and retailers to create new opportunities for boxed sheepmeat and beef products, with the delegation meeting with Thailand’s biggest food producer Charoen Pokphand Foods. CP Foods has a combined 70 per cent of the retail footprint in Thailand, including 7-Eleven, Lotus supermarkets, and several quick service food chains. It imports premium packaged red meat products, as well as yoghurt, Soluna apples, citrus, and strawberries. Ms Jarvis said the trip provided the perfect opportunity to promote WA sheepmeat and beef exports on a global stage, at a time when the Federal Government is pushing on with plans to ban live sheep exports. “Building on those sheepmeat markets is not going to solve our issues this season and maybe not even next season, but we have to start now to start building those markets for sheepmeat and lamb,” she said. “From what I saw... there was a big appetite to increase imports of premium meat products.” WA has exported lamb to Thailand for more than two decades, with exports worth $841,000 in 2021-22 rising to $3.1 million or 243 tonnes in 2022-23. The State also exported 1425 tonnes of beef, worth $22.7 million in the same year. In 2022-23, WA exported 618 tonnes of beef to Vietnam, worth $4.3m, while sheep meat exports to Vietnam are set to build from a small base of 11 tonnes worth $222,000 last financial year. The Vietnamese leg of the mission included meetings with food retailer Nam An Market and Annam Gourmet Market. While in Thailand, Ms Jarvis also toured one of the biggest wholefood food markets in South East Asia, Taalad Thai market, which is now stocking WA avocados. In Vietnam — WA’s fourth-biggest barley export market — she met with stakeholders from CBH and to tour its part-owned Interflour and Intermalt facilities. Interflour is one of the biggest flour mills in Vietnam and owns Intermalt, the biggest malting facility in the country. Demand for WA barley is booming in Vietnam, with 352,000 tonnes worth $139 million exported in 2022-23. “Vietnam’s beer consumption sits at about 3.8 million litres per year, ranking first in the ASEAN region and third in all of Asia after China and Japan,” Ms Jarvis said. More than eight tonnes of Hass avocados WA’s South West have been airfreighted to Bangkok to be distributed to retailers, hotels and restaurants during the past few weeks. WA’s QFly-free status means it was the only State in Australia e allowed to send avocados to the Thai market - about 10 years after it last sent avocados there. The deal has been labelled a great win for the State’s $106 million avocado industry, which gained exclusive access to the Japanese market three years ago. CBH Group declined to comment on Ms Jarvis’ trip to Vietnam and Thailand.