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WA Grains Group in Zhengzhou, Henan Province

MEMBERS of the WA Grains Group (WAGG) travelled to China last month in a bid to secure direct access to unique Chinese wheat markets.

According to WAGG chairman Doug Clarke, the trip was a huge success and provided an exclusive understanding into wheat end-users in China.

He said that what began as a step to bridge the gap between growers and end-users, transformed into an incredible opportunity to tap into new markets.

WAGG delegates were joined by technical staff from Murdoch University, that represent the Australian side of the Australia China Centre for Wheat Improvement, tasked with boosting research and innovation between the two nations.

While visiting flour mills in Beijing and ZhengZhou, the Australian delegation was told the majority of imported wheat was shipped from Canada and USA.

“Ten years ago they were sourcing as much as 30 per cent of their wheat from Australia,” Mr Clarke said.

He claimed that the reduction in quality and yellow colouring was responsible for a drop in the appeal of Australian wheat.

“They no longer source wheat from Australia as there is no information flow on quality or quantity, whereas this is freely available from USA and Canada and the quality is more uniform,” Mr Clarke said.

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With assistance from the GRDC members of the WA Grains Group travelled to China in September to secure direct access to Chinese wheat markets and gain a greater understanding of wheat end-users in China for the purpose of value adding our grain products and better meeting market specifications in the process.

The WA Grains Group travelled with a technical team from Murdoch University. The Technical team consisted of members of the staff from the Australia China Centre for Wheat Improvement (ACCWI), Professor Rudi Appels, Professor Wujun Ma, and Hollie Webster Wheat Research Fellow BRur.Sc(Hons).

• Our first point of call was at the China Academy of Agricultural Science (CAAS) where Professor Ma had studied as a student. It is located in Beijing, however when he was a student 20 years ago it was surrounded by wheat fields. CAAS houses the China arm of ACCWI, while we were there they pointed out the long involvement of the Academy with world wide collaboration with those involved in CIMMYT (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre) (Spanish Acronym). They work on Variety development such as processing quality, disease resistance, and yield potential. In more recent times they have applied themselves to Molecular Marker development application along with International networking, training and workshops. The other International agencies that they collaborate with include USDA centre for Wheat Quality and Pathology, Sino Australian China Centre for Wheat Improvement (Murdoch) and Sino-Japan Joint Noodle Quality Laboratories.

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