Meat and milk deals to create jobs in South West region

USMAN AZADSouth Western Times

THE State Government and business leaders say two major agricultural deals will create jobs in the South West and will be a big boost for the industry.

Bunbury-based meat processor V&V Walsh and Harvey Fresh, have this week announced two new initiatives which are both designed to take advantage of the growing demand for WA produce from China and the rest of Asia.

Harvey Fresh yesterday announced it wanted to reverse the downward trend of milk production in the South West by offering greater bonuses to farmers.

Harvey Fresh general manager Paul Lorimer said the company wanted to grow the supply base for milk in Western Australia.

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“There is some really positive signs in agriculture overall and particularly in the South West area it is very exciting times, ” he said.

“We certainly see there is a very strong appetite for Australian produce in the Asian market. Speaking particularly from a dairy point of view, we can’t see that demand slowing, we can only see it accelerating.”

V&V Walsh will look to the State’s farmers as it looks to shore-up an extra 500,000 lambs and 30,000 cattle a year to Inner Mongolia.

In a major deal for the WA meat industry, the Bunbury processor will offer long-term contracts to farmers.

Director Peter Walsh said talk about a new era of agriculture based on a food boom in Asia was becoming a reality.

Bunbury Chamber of Commerce and Industries chief executive officer Ray Philp said the deal would create jobs across the region.

“From a local business point of view the expansion of V&V Walsh reflects well on the region, ” Mr Philp said.

Bunbury-Wellington Economic Alliance chief executive officer Matt Granger said there were significant flow-on benefits for the rest of the South West economy when the agricultural sector was strong.

“I do have a sense that it appears the planets are lining up for agriculture in the South West, ” he said.

WA Farmers president Dale Park said there was no doubt farmers would take the price signals and meet the supply demands from the businesses.

Agriculture Minister Ken Baston said the deals would “no doubt” create jobs in the South West.

“I am committed to increasing the productivity and profitability of our primary industries and with the demand coming from our Asian neighbours, we are seeing new avenues for the sale of our safe and reliable products, ” he said.

“This is a win-win for agriculture and the State as a whole.

“This is a vote of confidence in the quality of our produce.”

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