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Strengthening ties with key markets

Strong relationships with key international partners are crucial to the Australian dairy industry, and a recent visitor to Dairy Australia has provided new insights into an important export market.

Hirofumi Ota is a representative of Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation and recently completed a four-week internship with Dairy Australia to learn more about the industry and connect with representatives from across the supply chain.

A graduate of Waseda University in Tokyo, Mr Ota spent a significant amount of time in the Victorian dairy regions attending field days, taking part in discussion groups and completing a comparison report on the issues affecting both Australian and Japanese dairy farmers.

“I have enjoyed learning about the different farm systems and meeting farmers,” he said.

“There are many differences and some similarities between the Japanese and Australian dairy industries, so there is a lot we can learn from each other.”

Strong relationships at an industry-wide level help maintain Australia’s position as a preferred supplier, which is important in maximising the return on export sales.

Dairy Australia’s international trade development manager, Peter Myers, coordinated Mr Ota’s internship and said this, and similar Dairy Australia programs, help to improve and maintain access to overseas markets and maximise potential returns to farmers.

“Besides building on existing relationships between Mitsubishi Corporation and the Australian dairy industry, the time that Hiro spent with us gave him greater insights into the Australian dairy supply chain, and improved our understanding of Japanese customer requirements,” he said.

The Mitsubishi Corporation is one of the largest dairy product purchasers in Japan and has a long history of supporting Australian dairy products.

Mr Ota was enthusiastic about the future of the Japan-Australia trade partnership.

“I was very impressed with the way Australian dairy farmers manage their farms and I see great opportunities for Australia and Japan to continue and further develop our excellent trading relationship,” he said.

Mr Ota will complete his Australian trip with a four-month placement at Riverina Australia’s Brisbane office. Riverina is an investment of the Mitsubishi Corporation and is involved in grain, animal feed and commodity trading.

Photo: Dairy Australia’s International Trade Development Manager Peter Myers with Hirofumi Ota, a representative of Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation.