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Yabbies prove hot export property

A KUKERIN woman has won the inaugural Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation WA 2000 Rural Women’s Award.

Mary Nenke – the driving force behind Cambinata Yabbies – won the award as a result of her unwavering dedication to rural Australian business.

Cambinata Yabbies produces and markets yabbies from its own farm as well as marketing yabbies for hundreds of suppliers across WA’s wheatbelt.

Ms Nenke said the most exciting aspect of her work was being part of building regional business.

“I really enjoy helping other people in the industry increase their viability,” Ms Nenke said.

The award includes a $20,000 bursary which Ms Nenke will use to study the US craw and catfish industries.

She said she plans to research the use of modern technology that has relevance to the WA yabby industry and explore options to increase exports to the US.

The company is a ten year old family-owned business that has trained more than 500 farmers in the production of superior quality yabbies.

Production has jumped from a mere twenty kilograms a week in the early years to an average of 1.5 tonnes a week.

A recent upgrade to the production plant provides Cambinata Yabbies with the potential to process more than five tonnes of crustaceans each week.

A new chilled water holding system means they are also able to keep fully-grown yabbies for up to three months.

“This gives us continuity of supply,” Ms Nenke said.

“No matter what the time of year, we are able to fill our orders.”

In addition to supplying local and interstate markets, the company also exports to Hong Kong, Singapore and the US.

Each yabby is individually weighed and graded before being packed in frozen gel packs to keep the product chilled at an ideal level.

Small Business Development Corporation managing director George Etrelezis said Ms Nenke – who is a member of the SBDC’s Women in Export Network – was an inspiration to anyone considering exporting as an option for business growth.

“The network aims to provide a forum where women can explore the opportunities for business growth through exporting,” Mr Etrelezis said.

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