In a bid to assist Western Australia’s agrifood industry, the State Government has given a significant boost to eight producers/suppliers.
South West company Fruit West, Capogreco (Waroona), AGRIFresh (Gingin), Patane Produce (Myalup), Avena Mills (Wandering), 888 Abalone (Bremer Bay), Australian Sandalwood Network (Pastoral and Wheatbelt regions), and V and V Walsh (Bunbury) will share in $1 million in grant funding to help increase export capacity and competitiveness.
The Bunbury abattoir will receive $125,000 for a sheep meat processor and hook tracking system to boost the quality of its produce.
The new set-up will also increase the factory’s efficiency and productivity.
Following the submission process, the department created a ‘business case’ for each applicant.
Applicants were judged on their potential to benefit the state through increased production.
Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan visited the region on Tuesday, August 7 for the announcement.
Ms MacTiernan said V and V Walsh showed promise in providing “immense returns”.
“We’re announcing our next round of incentive grants for our agricultural sector, and we realise there is an important role for the government to play in agribusiness,” she said.
“We’ve got some great ambitions in increasing the amount of agricultural export, and we’re assisting with the infrastructure investment that is necessary to do that.
“V and V Walsh have been extraordinary in the work they have been doing in finding new export markets for our chilled beef, in Iran and China in particular.”
Bunbury MLA Don Punch said the company provided an essential service in the region.
“The future of livestock in the South West is integrally linked to export, and V and V Walsh do a fantastic job with 1000 jobs on this site alone,” he said.
“It’s pretty significant for the region and a great outcome.”
Increasing production and providing one-of-a-kind produce were key to V and V Walsh’s business strategy, according to business manager Adrian Harrod.
“It’s really important we remain competitive, there are 1000 jobs on site and there is a very competitive global arena for beef and sheep,” he said.
“For our slaughtering process, we will go to a pressing system that will make us just that much more efficient, will lower the cost of production, and will deliver a better quality product with additional shelf life for cuts that we send overseas.”
The funding comes from the Export Competitiveness Grants program as part of the government’s Agribusiness Innovation fund.
The program was designed to increase local jobs as well as opportunities for reaching national and international markets.
Ms MacTiernan said the funds would provide more options for growers, producers, and suppliers across a variety of markets.
The eight successful applicants are destined to match the grant funding with more than $6.7m in cash and in-kind donations.