11 December 2014
Australian cattle exporters have welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce of an agreed health protocol with Thailand for Australian feeder and slaughter cattle, the CEO of Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council, Alison Penfold said today.
“Australian exporters have a history of exporting breeder cattle to the Thailand but have long sort access for feeder and slaughter cattle to the market.
“As an efficient producer of cattle, Thailand is a major exporter of red meat to near markets and the wider region. More recently, the growth in demand and increased rates of meat consumption across the region has seen the Thai cattle herd shrink, thus creating the commercial opportunity for Australian livestock exporters and producers, particularly those in the north.
“Our assessment is that the agreed protocol will support exporters to realise the commercial interest in Thailand for Australian feeder and slaughter cattle subject to the establishment of ESCAS supply chains and development of commercial arrangements.
“Interested exporters are now expected to formalise assessments of suitable feedlots and abattoirs – including 3rd party independent audits – and where necessary invest in training and infrastructure improvements to ensure facilities meet the required welfare standards.
“Subject to normal commercial factors, industry estimates that exports of cattle to Thailand are likely to reach 30,000 head in near years.”
Ms Penfold said that the last 18 months had been a particularly active time for industry and the Australian Government in finalising health protocols.
“A key ingredient to realising the true potential of Australian livestock exports is continuing market access improvements – both to new and existing markets.
“Industry through LiveCorp and the MLA/LiveCorp Live Export Program have worked with the Australian Government to establish or renegotiate a range of health protocols across the live export globe.
“As part of the protocol negotiations, Australia has hosted a number of technical delegations including a Thai delegation in September this year.
“The negotiation process across a wide range of markets and species is a mammoth task for all concerned and on behalf of ALEC I extend our particular thanks and appreciation to the staff involved in the Department of Agriculture’s Animal Biosecurity and Live Export teams as well as industry staff in LiveCorp and MLA.
“We also wish to extend our thanks to the Minister’s Joyce and Robb for their enthusiastic and energetic efforts to open new markets to Australian agricultural products, including livestock. Not only does this provide commercial benefits to supply chain participants including producers and service industries but also enable Australian exporters to export new infrastructure and equipment, and export better handling and slaughter practices to the world.”
Contact: Alison Penfold (0408 633 026)