SW plans for Asian market

The West Australian

A five-pronged plan for growing the South West's agricultural industry has been revealed as part of efforts to better position the region to take advantage of market opportunities and attract further investment from Asia.

Prepared by Deloitte Access Economics and taking into account industry views, the report outlines key strategies for taking the sector into greener, more lucrative pastures.

Overcoming market structure issues, investing in skills and technology, reviewing bio security controls, reducing red tape and improving the market water framework are all identified as keys to opening up fresh opportunities and increasing profitability for local agribusinesses.

South West Development Commission chief executive officer Don Punch said the study confirmed there were opportunities for the region to meet South East Asia's increasing demand for food and agri-products.

"The South West is well-placed to take advantage of South East Asia's … growing desire for safe, reliable, high quality food produce," he said.

"By acting on the areas highlighted in the report, we can better position the region's beef, dairy and horticultural sectors so they are primed to grasp market opportunities."

Regional Development Australia - South West executive officer Charles Jenkinson said the document highlighted growth opportunities that are expected to make a difference to the $630million a year industry.

"The study is consistent with all the messages regarding opportunities in Asia and upscaling to meet future demand but there are some new ideas in there too," Mr Jenkinson said.

"The next stage is to gather feedback about the document and identify which actions have the most potential for positive change and can take agribusiness forward."

Department of Agriculture and Food southern regional director Neil Guise said the study provides important recommendations to help agrifood industries in the South West to grow in value.

"The future for the agriculture and food industry is bright, but it is crucial to focus on the key areas that can make the biggest differences," Mr Guise said.

The "Action plan for transforming agriculture in South West Western Australia" was prepared at the request of Regional Development Australia - South West, South West Development Commission and the Department of Agriculture and Food.

Download it from www.swdc.wa.gov.au or www.rdasouthwest.com.au .

Email feedback to info@swdc.wa.gov .au.

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