Export eye on Asia | My Machinery
CASE Agriculture
Export eye on Asia

Having dominated the domestic organic free-range poultry market, R.M. Williams Agricultural Holdings (RMWAH) is now turning its attention to south-east Asia. Following substantial investment in 2012, RMWAH is now the only Australian company with the capability of exporting organic free-range poultry. For three months the company has been exporting product to an online retailer in Hong Kong, however, RMWAH head of corporate development Bryce Graham said from this month exports would rapidly increase. RMWAH will sell Inglewood Farms-branded product and also a new R.M. Williams Agricultural Holdings-branded product into Hong Kong this year. Mr Graham said it was working on exclusive contracts with two of the major retailers in the region to target two different markets with each of the brands. He said the company would supply about 40 stores with the Inglewood Farms brand from early March – which he hopes to increase to about 200 stores within two years – mainly targeting Asian consumers through one of the retail chains. However, with the other major chain he hopes to ride off the back of the recognition of the R.M. Williams brand to target the huge expatriate community in Hong Kong. The company also has its sights set on Singapore, China and the Middle East and Mr Graham said RMWAH hoped to build on the relationships established to create an export market for branded organic beef and lamb. “Poultry is not the only thing we’re focusing on, we’re looking at establishing relationships with these major groups beyond organic poultry,” he said. “One of the other things we’re talking to the group we’re launching with in March is to be able to offer an end-to-end organic meat solution of Australian product in our brand. “Organic poultry is a very good product that creates a platform for us to sell other value-added products.” Mr Graham said RMWAH wanted to develop the export market so it made up about 30 per cent of overall yearly volume of Inglewood Farms within 18 months. He said export margins were far higher for certain products like darker meats and offal. One key difference between the domestic and export markets is the fact that Australia prefers fresh produce, while it will be mainly frozen in Hong Kong. “Ninety per cent of what we sell will be frozen and we will have to adjust our packaging and portion sizes,” he said. A challenge of meeting export standards for countries like Hong Kong has been developing an amino acid-free feed ration. Mr Graham said initially they suffered production losses and mortalities as a result of the different ration, but spent the past 18 months refining it. “We’ve now got two separate feed rations, one for the domestic market and one of the export and mortalities are now essentially the same,” he said. Should the export market boom as anticipated, Mr Graham said RMWAH had capacity to increase its Inglewood Farms operation even further. “If we maximise production, we have a number of options,” he said. “In terms of the brood sheds and the processing plant there is ample capacity, we would just need more growing sheds.”

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