Investment alliance 'to support food sector'

The West Australian

A business alliance was launched last week by WA Agriculture Minister Ken Baston with the aim of attracting investment in the State's food-production sector.

The alliance, supported by the Department of Agriculture and Food, is a non-profit network of companies, peak industry organisations, government agencies and higher learning institutions aimed at fostering relationships to co-ordinate investment in WA.

Mr Baston said the InvestWest Agribusiness Alliance was about encouraging investment in the State's agriculture and food sector by supporting businesses facilitating foreign and local investment.

"It will promote understanding of customer requirements and the capacity of our businesses to satisfy their needs," he said.

"There is an initial focus on China, but alliance members are working on investment from a range of sources.

"New markets will provide long-term security, bringing profitability to not just producers, but the State's economy and the people of WA.

"Asia's population will increase by more than a billion people by 2050, including 400 million extra people in India and 63 million more in China. By 2050, global demand for food is expected to be 77 per cent higher.

"This demonstrates the enormity of the opportunities available to businesses in the agriculture and food sector. We need to harness them and benefit from them."

DAFWA director-general Rob Delane said investment was essential for businesses in the sector to capitalise on growing food demand from Asia.

"We have an excellent opportunity to build on our reputation as producers of premium quality and safe food by generating new markets and partnerships that will provide long-term benefits to both our customers and West Australian businesses," he said.

"The alliance will be about sharing investment knowledge, collectively promoting Western Australia and facilitating successful investment - in keeping with its vision of being 'All Together Successful'.

"The alliance will be supported by an experienced investment facilitator seconded from the department to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA, to streamline support for investment.

"This latest partnership between DAFWA and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry builds on the outstanding partnership already established between the organisations to support the Western Australian food industry sector."

An additional agriculture specialist has been appointed to the State Government's Trade Office in Shanghai to focus on investment facilitation.

WA has an export-based agriculture and food sector, with about 80 per cent of production sold to international markets.

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