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Mary-Anne and the Lambassadors lamb it up

Sheep Central, May 16, 2022

Victorian Minister for Agriculture Mary-Anne Thomas prepares some lamb with the MLA Lambassadors in the MCG kitchen.

VICTORIA’S Minister for Agriculture Mary-Anne Thomas has swapped lamb preparation tips with 30 international chefs as part of Meat & Livestock Australia’s 2022 Lambassador program.

The Andrews Labor Government is backing the state’s lamb producers to strengthen international exports to new and established markets while supporting jobs.

This involved the minister attending a cooking masterclass as part of the 2022 ‘Lambassador’ program with 30 international chefs in Melbourne to undertake a ‘paddock to plate’ workshop.

The leading chefs have spent the last week learning about Victorian lamb and the state’s producers, inspiring them to create their own signature dishes and promote Victorian lamb when they return home.

The Lambassador program is delivered by Meat and Livestock Australia with support from a $2.5 million grant from the Labor Government’s Global Victoria’s Export Recovery Fund and Agriculture Victoria’s Food to Market program. The program has been running since 2015 with delegates travelling to Victoria from around the world.

After operated virtually during the COVID pandemic, the return of the in-person program involved the group travelling to regional Victoria to see where lamb is farmed, learn more about how it is produced, discover new cooking techniques and experience some of the state’s best food and wine.

The ‘Lambassador’ program began in Japan and will now be expanded to new regions including South East Asia, the Middle East and North America over the next two years.

Victoria is the largest sheep meat exporter in Australia with exports valued at $1.4 billion. The program will help to grow global exports by boosting the profile and understanding of lamb in important overseas markets such as Japan, Vietnam, and South Korea.

The Government is supporting agricultural food producers to diversify their international export markets through its international network of trade and investment offices, the largest network of any Australian state.

Ms Thomas said the government is excited to partner with Meat and Livestock Australia to expand the successful Lambassador program into global markets that have a proud history of supporting Victoria’s lamb producers by promoting their high-quality, grass-fed lamb internationally. This in turn supports jobs, she said.

Minister for Trade Martin Pakula said Victoria is the largest exporter of lamb in the country and the government was backing farmers and the industry to recover and continue to create new jobs for Victorians.”

MLA’s general manager – international markets,  Andrew Cox, said teaching world-class international chefs more about Victoria’s high quality, premium lamb and the exciting range of culinary possibilities it presents through the Lambassador program is an innovative way to promote and boost the industry’s global export potential.

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