Australia’s Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources has promised A$1.3 million in grants for small exporters of kangaroo and other red meat.
Minister Barnaby Joyce said the export grants, which will fall under Australia’s 4-year Package Assisting Small Exporters (PASE) programme, are intended to help the kangaroo industry access Asian markets.
Kangaroo meat is a saleable by-product of culling across much of Australia. It can be a valuable or supplementary source of income to members of the agriculture industry and has been exported by Australia for close to sixty years.
Despite the government’s Asian focus, industry insiders hope the grants will result in tighter regulations for kangaroo production, in the hope that Russia will re-open the A$180,000 kangaroo trade it banned in 2014. Producers and landowners are already working with state governments like Queensland to develop more permits.
The federal government estimates the kangaroo populations of 48 species of kangaroo to be up to 60 million strong. Of these species, four can be harvested under license under a population control programme.
Traditionally, kangaroo meat has exported to Europe as a luxury foodstuff. It is also sometimes used in tinned dog food, and Joyce believes pelts and skins could be further exploited.
Joyce said that the funding to the tune of A$227,095 would improve traceability of kangaroo products through a new mobile app, while $56,870 will go towards improving skinning and boning controls.
The small exporter grants for kangaroo producers will also include an A$67,122 grant to develop an European Union submission on lactic acid decontamination in kangaroo meat, which the government said could also benefit other meat farmers.
“This targeted support comes on the back of historic trade agreements the government has signed with China, Japan and Korea and a recent technical market access gain for kangaroo meat exporters to Peru,” Minister Joyce said.
Australian farmers will also visit Asian markets to open up new opportunities.