(MENAFN Press) The Australian State of Victoria Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh and his counterpart in Oman have agreed to develop a memorandum of understanding centred on food production, research and development and education
As part of the Victorian Government's Super Trade Mission to the Middle East, Mr Walsh met with Oman's Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Dr Fuad Jaffer Al Sajwani and other senior government officials in the capital Muscat
Mr Walsh said during the meeting the officials expressed a strong view that it was time to take the relationship between Oman and Victoria to the 'next level' for their mutual benefit
"Oman is very wisely focused on its future food security and is looking to Victoria not only for more food but for expertise in water management and for partnerships in agribusiness," Mr Walsh said
"The country also recognises Victoria as a home of world-class agricultural research that may play an important role in helping to lift productivity in its own farm sector
"With Australian universities already a popular choice for many Omani students, their Government is also looking to Victoria for vocational education and training in agricultural and veterinary science
"For all these reasons we have agreed to formalise our relationship as part of a concerted focus on mutually beneficial joint ventures, partnerships, collaborative research and educational agreements.
Oman is one of several countries that make up the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region, the second most important market for Victorian food and fibre exporters
Exports of Victorian food and fibre to MENA increased 15 per cent in 2012-13 to A1.25 billion
"We want to be seen as a long term partner to Oman supplying reliable and high quality food year in, year out," Mr Walsh said
"But it's not just about exporting more food, it's also about helping other countries to lift their own productive capacity
"This memorandum of understanding will give Oman greater access to Victoria's research capacity, agronomic expertise and agribusiness know-how, leading to long term productivity benefits that will help to safeguard the country's food security.