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THE VICTORIAN government is working to grow the state’s exports of lamb meat through the famous Lambassador program.

State minister for agriculture Mary-Anne Thomas attended a cooking masterclass as part of the 2022 Lambassador program and met with 30 international chefs who are in Melbourne to undertake a paddock-to-plate workshop as part of the initiative.

The chefs will spend the week learning about Victorian lamb and the state’s producers. The Victorian government said the idea is to inspire the chefs to create their own signature dishes and promote lamb from the state when they get home.

The Lambassador program is delivered by Meat and Livestock Australia. The Victorian government supported the initative with a $2.5-million grant from its Global Victoria’s Export Recovery Fund and Agriculture Victoria’s Food to Market program.

Ms Thomas said: “We’re excited to partner with Meat and Livestock Australia to expand the successful Lambassador program into global markets which has a proud history of supporting Victoria’s lamb producers by promoting their high-quality, grass-fed lamb internationally – which in turn supports jobs.”

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The program has been running since 2015 with delegates travelling to Victoria from around the world.

During the pandemic, the program operated virtually. The return of the in-person program will see the group of chefs travel to regional Victoria to see where Victorian 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.

Meat and Livestock Australia 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.”

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.

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