Few would dispute the multiplier effect and benefits of increasing market access and trade opportunities for our industry – this is why it is a priority in the AAA Strategic Plan.
With this in mind, the Board is calling for Expressions of Interest for members to join a Market Access and Trade Committee (MATC). The Committee will work with the AAA Board and Office to develop customer driven markets at both a domestic and international level.
Whilst the parameters of this Committee will cover animal sales, fibre and alpaca end products, its initial focus will be on the reopening of animal exports into New Zealand and developing access to a direct pathway into Europe.
Andrew Munn, Prue Walduck and Amanda Olthof, recently met with representatives from the Department of Agriculture to discuss the current export situation.
Whilst it is frustrating that the negotiations and development of export protocols and trade agreements between countries is protracted – it was encouraging to learn we have the support of the Government. We walked away from this meeting with the full understanding that whilst we are a very small player in comparison to other livestock industries, we are recognised as a niche market. We also identified opportunities where we as an industry can lobby and try to influence outcomes. The MATC will be involved in this work.
Q Fever Update:
- Export of Australian alpacas into New Zealand was suspended by the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries due to the inaccuracy of the serological Q Fever test. NZ claims freedom from Q Fever which is a zoonotic disease that can transfer from animals to humans.
- The Australian Government funded a joint project Q fever ELISA validation test, between Sydney University and Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute. The AAA was never in a financial position to fund such a project.
- This project has entailed the recruitment of a dedicated staff member, testing of 607 alpacas and ethics approval to inoculate two alpacas to generate a positive alpaca sera. Our former President Ian Frith is to be thanked for enabling the testing of his alpacas and donating two alpacas which were ultimately humanely euthanised.
- We are advised the testing has been completed with the pending release of the subsequent report. The report is the property of the Department of Agriculture and we are hopeful this will occur prior to the end of the year.
- Assuming the report is positive, the Department of Agriculture will present the report to the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries for their consideration and subsequent decision on whether to reopen the borders.
- Whilst nothing is suggesting the report won’t be positive, the re-opening of borders into New Zealand is still not guaranteed and is a decision of the NZ Government.
It is a waiting game – we will advise all members of any progress.