Call to focus on ‘safe beef’
Pastoralists have been urged to look beyond the much-hyped demand from China for high-end produce, as Australian cattle producers look to infiltrate the “sleeping dragon” market.
ANZ head of agribusiness Mark Bennett said while premium product exports were attracting media and political attention, targeting the everyday Chinese market could bring substantial benefits.
“The big driver into China is not high-end fillets, it is safe beef that won’t kill them,” he said.
Mr Bennett said Chinese investors were preparing for a one million-head intake, though current forecasts had the intake number from Australia at about 400,000500,000.
“The Chinese market is showing a lot more enthusiasm than we are here,” he said.
“They are really serious about this stuff and I just can’t think they would spend this much money and not have an impact.
“They are going overboard to try and tick every single box we demand in not harming the reputation of our industry from anything that may go wrong, right through the supply chain.”
Frontier International Agri South East Asia operations manager Ashley Jones said the Chinese market presented an opportunity for the Pilbara because of cost savings presented by the short haul from Port Hedland to Asia.
Mr Jones said there were several hurdles to overcome, such as a requirement to keep yards free of other cattle for a week before cattle destined for China could be brought in.
“Some facilities are saying ‘we are not interested in China’ because they have to shut their facilities down for seven-10 days,” he said.