Roo meat is hitting plates around the world
OWEN JACQUES - APN NEWSDESKAUSTRALIAN kangaroo meat is hopping on to plates throughout Europe, and with Queensland supplying up to 80%, the government is keen to see roo steaks landing back on menus in Russia and making their debut in China.
As of mid-2013, the boutique meat trade was worth $12.2 million to Queensland, the largest chunk of the $15.5 million national total.
Germans had the biggest hunger for kangaroo, followed by the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Papua New Guinea.
Russia was Queensland's top export market for kangaroo meet until 2009 following contamination issues.
It has now restarted some imports, but in much lower volumes.
Most of the "kangaroo harvest" comes from throughout western Queensland.
Much of the meat sent to Europe is processed by Game Meat Processing in Wulkuraka near Ipswich.
For 2014, more than 5 million kangaroos - including red, eastern grey and common wallaroo[CORRECT] breeds - will be harvested.
It amounts to no more than 20% of Queensland's estimated kangaroo population.
Treasurer Tim Nicholls said Europeans had an "existing culture" of eating game, so kangaroo meat suits the culture while being cheap and lean.
He said the Department of Agriculture and Trade Investment Queensland were attempting to help kangaroo meat break into the Chinese market.
Mr Nicholls said the Chinese were long reluctant to eat the other red meat, because of concerns about welfare although they are now convinced the iconic animals are killed humanely.
"While this change has not yet led to markets opening up, trade officials continue to work towards finding opportunities to develop a market for kangaroo meat in China," Mr Nicholls said.
When asked whether he ever enjoys a sneaky taste of kangaroo, Mr Nicholls said he does indeed.
He finds it "a lovely, gamey red meat".