Australia’s biggest ever food and beverage inbound trade mission is visiting Gippsland this week as the Andrews Labor Government showcases the best of the region’s food and beverage products to major buyers from key markets across the globe.

Delegates from the 2015 Food and Beverage Trade Week trade mission will be visiting Radford Meats, Ellinbank Research Centre, Alpine Trout Farm and Devondale Murray Goulburn to meet local producers and see how Gippsland has earned its reputation as one of the world’s greatest dairy producing regions.

The visits by major international buyers are a chance to build relationships between local producers in Gippsland and international investors and buyers to drive new export opportunities and grow local businesses.

Victorian dairy exports are growing fast as local producers tap into expanding Asian markets. Victoria accounts for 83% of Australia’s dairy exports, and is worth more than $2 billion in 2014-15.

The Labor Government is working hard to help the dairy sector build on its extraordinary success through programs like Food Source Victoria, which offers grants to help producers boost exports and build capability.

The 2015 Food and Beverage Trade Week has drawn a strong response with more than 240 international buyers from key growth markets like China, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, the Middle East and the US.

Delegates will visit premium agricultural regions across the state and will see first-hand Victoria’s high-tech processing plants and food research centres. They will meet leaders from the local food and beverage industry at one-on-one meetings and industry networking events.

Victoria is Australia’s largest producer and exporter of food and fibre and the sector is growing fast. The state’s food and fibre exports for 2014-15 were worth $11.6 billion and the sector now employs more than 190,000 people across the state.

Food and fibre is one of the six key sectors in the Labor Government’s plan to drive growth and support industries, through the $200 million Future Industries Fund, which will create local jobs and a stronger economy for Victoria.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade, Philip Dalidakis

“This trade mission is about supporting our local exporters and providing them with opportunities to forge new relationships that will help Victorian businesses grow and prosper.”

“Bringing key investors and buyers from growing international markets to our doorstep allows local traders to show the rest of the world the very best of Victoria’s food and beverage products.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria, Harriet Shing

“Gippsland is at the heart of Australia’s dairy and beef industries, and our agricultural productivity and quality are world-renowned. This trade mission is a key part of further building the region’s reputation and giving our best producers an opportunity to generate new export deals, grow our regional companies and create more local jobs.”