Sheep producers interested in learning more about opportunities in the Middle East meat market have been invited to participate in a study tour to the region early next year.
The Sheepmeat Study Tour to the Middle East, sponsored and coordinated by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and Meat and Livestock Australia, will be held from 28 March to 5 April 2020.
Department research officer Mandy Curnow said five producer positions and one processor position were available on the tour to countries, including Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
Ms Curnow said the tour provided a great opportunity to understand the intricacies and shifting trends in one of Western Australia’s biggest markets for sheepmeat.
“The Middle East has long been a significant customer of WA sheepmeat, currently importing around 24 million kilograms of sheepmeat worth $192 million per annum, but the market is changing,” she said.
“Historically this has been a predominantly live export market but in recent years there have been emerging opportunities for chilled and frozen product, as preferences and diets change.
“Between 2010-11 and 2018-19 there was significant growth in the export of chilled lamb carcases to the Middle East from two million kilograms to 11.6 million kilograms, due to the evolution of tastes and technology.
“Participants on the tour will get to discover first-hand the drivers and specifications necessary to satisfy Middle Eastern customer requirements to help WA capture a share of this emerging market.”
The week-long study tour includes tours of feedlots, import and processing facilities, as well as visits to food service and retail outlets.
The group will also have the opportunity to talk with wholesalers who operate in the expanding chilled, frozen and carcase markets.
“The trip is a wonderful opportunity to better understand the constraints of the supply chain, including cold chain infrastructure, transport and changing diets,” Ms Curnow said.
“Participants will also get an insight into possibilities for new markets, like hogget meat, shipped chilled lamb and new cuts, as well as an appreciation of the cultural impacts on trade.”
Expressions of interest in participating in the DPIRD/MLA Sheepmeat Study Tour are invited from producers and processors, who will be required to act as ‘ambassadors’ on their return to share the lessons learned with industry.
Participants will have to cover the cost of their flights to the Middle East and associated travel insurance and incidentals.
Jodie Thomson/Megan Broad, media liaison
+61 (0)8 9368 3937