Article – Historic deal between the largest West Australian red meat processor and China paves the way for increased agricultural production

5 August 2014
Bridget Fitzgerald
ABC Rural
Western Australia’s largest red meat processor has signed a historic deal for the long term supply of beef and sheep meat into China.
The deal between V and V Walsh, based in Bunbury in the state’s south west, and Chinese company Grand Farm, was officially signed at an event on August 4.
Grand Farm is the largest sheep meat importer and third largest beef importer in China.
The partnership between the two companies is the culmination of a 16-year business relationship between V and V Walsh directors Peter and Greg Walsh and Chen Xibin, Grand Farm president and chairman of China’s Beef and Lamb Association.
The deal will see V and V Walsh supply red meat directly into Inner Mongolia and increase its capacity by 500,000 lambs and 30,000 cattle in the early stages of the project, with scope for further growth.
Peter Walsh says the deal is a significant step forward for the WA red meat industry and beef and sheep producers.
Mr Walsh says he believes agriculture is going to turn around, but he says more work needs to be done to increase production.
“The only reason they will increase is if they get more incentive to do so,” he says.
Chen Xibin says the agreement between Grand Farm and V and V Walsh was based on friendship and the quality of WA produce.
“The natural resources is very pure and natural,” he says.
“And also because of the relationship between [myself] and Mr Peter Walsh.”
Mr Chen confirmed that he is seeking further investments in farms around the south west of Western Australia.
Greg Walsh says business in China is about building relationships.
“They won’t deal with you unless they trust you, they understand you, and they get you drunk a few times.”
Peter and Greg Walsh and Mr Chen praised the work done by the V and V Walsh China Chief Representative Linda Shen.
Ms Shen was the key point of contact between the Walsh brothers, who do not speak Chinese and Mr Chen, who does not speak English.
WA Minister for Agriculture and Food Ken Baston attended the event to witness the deal alongside Chinese consular general to Western Australia Huang Qinguo.
Mr Baston says his Department has a key role to play in increasing the production of WA agriculture,
“Farmers are there because they are businesses and they have got to make products,” he says.
Dr Huang says he was impressed by the quality and the significance of the agreement.
The sheep meat industry in WA comprises about 18 per cent of national sheep meat exports and was worth approximately $337 million to the state in 2012-13.
The WA cattle industry had a gross agricultural production of approximately $463 million in 2012-13.
V and V Walsh is a family-owned business that was established by Vern and Jean Walsh in 1957.
Grand Farm runs red meat processing facilities in Heilongjiang Province in Northern China and distributes imports and local produce to retail stores and the food service sector.
V and V Walsh Grand Farm deal
Courtesy of ABC Rural