Positive outlook for WA pork industry

At a time when the pork production sector is hurting, the industry’s representative body in WA, the West Australian Pork Producers’ Association (WAPPA), is adopting a positive, pro-active approach to building a more healthy, vibrant industry.

Speaking after WAPPA’s first general meeting for 2008, Cuballing producer and WAPPA President, Graeme Dent, said the industry would bounce back, grow exports, lift domestic demand, build human capital, return to profitability and be sustainable.

“While this may seem like a big ask, I’m confident the core group of producers in WA have the personal commitment, financial incentive and encouragement of their processors to not only stay in the business, but consolidate their positions,” he said.

Existing industry positives and points of difference with competitors included WA’s very high herd health status; warm winters conducive to growth and productivity; proximity to key Asian markets — especially Singapore; and unmatched close working relationships with processors.

“When added up, these things paint an optimistic picture of our future, despite high input costs and unfairly high levels of imports that threaten that future,” Dent said.

Commenting specifically on the Productivity Commission findings, he said that global trade in a whole range of agricultural products was continually distorted by subsidies, both direct and indirect, provided to Australia’s major competitors and importers — Demark, Canada and the USA.

“Despite all of this, the WA pork industry has performed exceptionally, maintaining more than 20% of national pork exports into the Asian region and up to half of Australia’s fresh pork into Singapore.

“The Productivity Commission Inquiry was futile, so we’ll now get on with the job of focusing our attention on opportunities that exist in Asia, while encouraging our industry to broaden its marketing base and develop efficiencies based on the skill and expertise of our WA researchers, scientists and farmers,” Dent said.

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