Live export insight for women

Kate PollardCountryman

A group of Kimberly and Pilbara female pastoralists will visit Indonesia in August to see the live export supply chain first-hand.

The five-day trip is being organised by Catherine Marriott, an animal nutritionist and winner of the 2012 Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation Rural Women's Award.

As a feedlot industry consultant for four years, starting out with Wellard, Ms Marriott said many women had voiced a desire to see how their cattle are handled and processed.

"There are a lot of blokes that get invited to go but there have never been, to my knowledge any women that have been invited," she said.

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The itinerary includes a visit to holding yards to see cattle fed and processed before loading, at most likely Darwin, aboard a Wellard vessel.

"We will speak to stockmen about the challenges and opportunities on the voyage and the daily running of the ship," Ms Marriott said.

The group will fly to Indonesia and see the same cattle discharged, visit a mechanised feedlot and one where cattle are feed by hand and abattoirs serviced as part of the supply chain.

The group will also visit a Bakso manufacturing plant where meatballs, which are how 90 per cent of Indonesian beef is consumed, are made.

A key part of the trip will be a visit to an Indonesian wet market with an Indonesian housewife who will explain the sort of meat she is looking for, why, and how it will be cooked.

The group join the housewife as she prepares them a meal, an opportunity, Ms Marriott said was not offered to Australian men visiting a predominately Muslim culture.

"The trip will give the women involved an opportunity to speak about their industry from a first-hand experience," Ms Marriott said.

Pastoralists signed up include Kirsty Forshaw from Nita Downs, Jane Sale from Yougawalla station, Barbara and Cheryl Camp from Kalyeeda station, Kate Paul from Noreena Downs and Annabelle Coppin from Yarrie station. Also attending will be Elizabeth Brennan, Ms Marriott's business partner in their company, Influential Women, which celebrates the role women play in agriculture.

During the first workshop in Broome in April, sponsored by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), the idea for the women's trip to Indonesia was first officially flagged.

MLA communications spokeswoman Pip McConchie said Ms Marriott was an incredibly passionate advocate for the industry, inspiring other women to be advocates.

With the trip to Indonesia seen as an extension of that, Ms McConchie said it will allow women to talk first-hand about the Indonesian supply chain.

Ms Marriott said a lack of dialogue with consumers was impacting on the industry's social licence to operate. "One of my favourite sayings is that producers need to support consumers and consumers need to support producers but you can't support something you don't understand," she said.

After the trip, Ms Marriott said they hoped to show a human face behind why the live export industry was important.

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