Media Release

Barnaby Joyce Middle East push

4 April 2014

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, will travel to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain today to build on export opportunities and improve commercial connections for Australia's agricultural sectors.

Minister Joyce will be accompanied by key industry representatives from the meat, livestock, grains, dairy, pulses and agribusiness sectors.

"This is a business delegation designed to build on the progress we have already made in this important part of the world," Minister Joyce said today.

"This visit will not only raise Australia's agricultural profile, but it will enable important discussions on Australia's market access relationships in agricultural and food products."

Minister Joyce said that roughly two-thirds of Australia's agricultural products were exported, and the Middle East was a significant market.

"Building on our strong relationships and discovering new market opportunities provides great gains for industry, and importantly gets more money going where it's needed, back to the farmgate—all leading to better returns to farmers," Minister Joyce said.

The Middle East takes some 10 per cent ($4.1 billion in 2012–13) of Australia's total agricultural exports with:

  • Saudi Arabia - $811m (second largest market in the Middle East) comprised largely of barley, wheat, and beef and sheep meat.
  • Bahrain - $96m of predominantly beef and sheep meat.

"These are prime markets for the growth of Australian exports. An example of this is the recent recommencement of the livestock export trade to Bahrain, which was great news for Australian sheep producers," Minister Joyce said.

The visit will include trips to dairy and manufacturing facilities, feedlots and abattoirs. Delegates will have an opportunity to meet with senior government and industry officials involved in the agriculture, food and investment sectors.​