Fletchers International Exports director Roger Fletcher gave hundreds of delegates at LambEx 2018 something to think about during the event when he threw out some controversial challenges at the meet-and-greet function.
The sheep meat processor told producers at Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre that Australia’s lamb and wool industry had the potential to grow production by 20 per cent in the next five years.
He also suggested the sheep meat and wool industry should be placed under one banner.
“We need to join together as one group to prevent duplication of expenditure and provide a strong voice in lobbying government,” Mr Fletcher said.
“The sheep and wool industries combined were as big as the beef industry in export dollars.
“I do not understand why the sheep industry (meat and wool) is not under one banner.
“The advantage would be being closer to government and we can move faster.”
He said it was important to clean up the splinter organisations across in the sheep industry and the quicker it was done, the better.
“What we really need is one board, the best people on the board, and unfortunately to get the best people on the board, they can’t be wasting a massive amount of time on it,” he said.
“This will put us in a better position for marketing with more strength and negotiating free trade agreements.
“We are the major processor of wool and sheepmeat in the world and we have to help the other countries that are in the business.”
Mr Fletcher also said there was a need for industry and the government to plan ahead to meet the needs of producers when facing future droughts.
“Grower organisations have money in the bank,” he said.
“They need to use it to help producers prepare for droughts. Government needs to give money to prepare for droughts.”
Mr Fletcher said sheep meat was becoming a luxury item in Australia as the price continued to rise and the wool industry was “the best it’s been in a long time”.
He said to be ready to grow Australia’s sheep and wool markets over the next five years we had to be able to stretch the markets around the world and find different ways of handling the animal.
“We can cut one lamb up and it can go to 62 customers – that’s from the skin to right across the board,” Mr Fletcher said.
He said the product being exported around the world was different than what it used to be and Australia had to go along with the challenge of change to make the most of the demand.