SCA is committed to providing a platform for ongoing international relations to improve the consumption of Australian sheepmeat in key export markets.
As well as our traditional markets in the US, Europe and the Middle East, Asia is becoming increasingly important as a destination for our product and Council has encouraged increased focus on opening up markets in this part of the world.
China is a growing and important market with exports of Australian sheepmeat to China increasing each year, albeit at a moderate rate. In 2011 total exports reached 21,234t.
There are a plethora of technical market access issues that inhibit growth in this market and progress in addressing these issues is slow, but Council will increase efforts to overcome trade barriers in 2013, and especially pushing for the finalisation of the Australian China FTA.
Malaysia is one of the key markets in SE Asia with exports of 8,841 t – largely shoulder cuts. All Australian sheepmeat entering Malaysia is certified halal, and the certification process in Australia has high integrity. Council recognises the need to underpin the brand with on-farm systems that meet customer requirements.
The Indian market is a natural sheepmeat market and as such Council has been exploring opportunities in this market. Opportunities exist in the high end retail and foodservice sectors. Imports can provide an impetus for the local industry to develop and grow and so reduce the resistance to imports from local producers. Council will continue to focus on opportunities in India.
The Middle East is our largest mutton and live sheep market and is also a burgeoning lamb destination especially built on our enviable reputation as a reliable supplier of high quality safe halal sheepmeat. Council devoted significant effort in this market on both the boxed trade and the live trade, especially on the implementation of the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS).
The US is an important market for Australian lamb and there are opportunities to achieve greater Australian access. However, the current economic situation places a significant dampener on such opportunities. The situation is exacerbated by the high value of the Australian dollar and the shortage of lamb internationally putting upward pressure on prices. Council continued participation in the Tri-Lamb partnership (between Sheepmeat Council, American Sheep Industry Association and NZ Federated Farmers) to facilitate the consumption of lamb in the US through knowledge sharing and coordinated marketing campaigns.
Not-with-standing all of the above the domestic market remains the most important destination for Australian lamb. Council worked with MLA to implement effective marketing campaigns for lamb in Australia based on a proven formula and refreshed for today’s audience.