South East Asian market ripe for the picking for South West business

Stuart McGuckinSouth Western Times
Chloe Koay of Chop Tony Guang, Bunbury Farmers Market co-owner Kevin Opferkuch, Agnes Ng of Gourmet Partner and Anthony Low of Honestbee tuck into some fresh mangoes.
Camera IconChloe Koay of Chop Tony Guang, Bunbury Farmers Market co-owner Kevin Opferkuch, Agnes Ng of Gourmet Partner and Anthony Low of Honestbee tuck into some fresh mangoes. Credit: Stuart McGuckin

The freshness and size of the Bunbury Farmers Market impressed a delegation of South East Asian business representatives touring the State’s south on Tuesday.

The visiting delegation of buyers from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam were being shown through export-ready food and beverage businesses by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

JWM Asia general manager Kelvin Ong travelled from Singapore as part of the delegation.

He said the freshly made produce available at the farmers market was not something available at home.

“In the Asian market, we have a lot of pre-packaged stuff from a central kitchen,” he said.

“I was shocked that the skill in the back-of-house production was only for this store — I was expecting that from here they supplied to other stores but they don’t.

Farmers market co-owner Kevin Opferkuch said showing the delegation how the market operated was a great opportunity.

“We have a beautiful market because of the local growers that support it and we’re proud to showcase their product,” he said.

“It’s exciting, particularly when we get Asian folk coming through that represent such a strong group of retailers and suppliers.

“They were particularly impressed by the quality of the product available and probably the freshness most of all — they were excited by the layout and variety as well.”

The South East Asian region is home to half of the State’s top 10 global markets for agriculture and food products and represented 27 per cent of WA’s food and agriculture exports in 2016-17.

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said growing demand in South East Asia presented a rich opportunity for WA businesses.

She said the State’s proximity to the Asian region and a strong reputation meant producers were perfectly placed to capitalise on increasing demand.

“Critically, we can supply counter-season products from the Northern Hemisphere, giving our producers a real competitive edge,” she said.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails