WIMMERA food, beverage and agribusiness companies are participating in Victoria's largest trade mission to the Middle East.
Ararat Meat Exports, Longerenong College, Montara Winery in Ararat and Taltarni Vineyards at Moonambel have joined 71 other businesses on the mission.
The tour will visit the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Saudi Arabia and focus on opportunities in food, tourism, agribusiness, water, equine, infrastructure, defence, higher education and marine industries.
Agriculture and Food Security Minister Peter Walsh said the State Government's trade mission would allow Victorian food and fibre exporters to build on their already substantial presence in the Middle East.
He said the aim of the mission was to increase exports to the region.
"With meat, dairy products and grain making up more than 85 per cent of the value of farm exports to the Middle East and North Africa, the trade mission will provide exporters prime opportunity to substantially expand their footprint in the region," he said.
Ararat Meat Exports sales and livestock manager Michael Stapleton said the company specialised in Australian halal lamb and mutton.
He said the business had been one of Australia's largest export sheep abattoirs for 20 years and the Middle East accounted for about 65 per cent of its total sales.
The company employs about 300 people and exports more than 2.6 million tonnes of sheep meat and related products a year.
"Because the Middle East makes up such a large percentage of our sales, it makes sense to invest resources in the region and focus on this continually growing market," Mr Stapleton said.
"Traditionally the Middle East has been a fairly strong market for us, but in the past 10 years it has grown significantly.
"That is why it is important to be involved with the trade mission, which assists companies like ours to establish strong relationships with customers as well as opening new doors within our market."
Longerenong College general manager John Goldsmith said part of the mission was an educational component.
"Chief executive John Ackland will promote Longerenong College in the Middle East," he said.
"It is really about testing the water for the possibility of overseas students coming to the college."
Mr Goldsmith said it was the college's first step to explore opportunities for student exchanges.
Participants in the mission left Australia on Friday and will return late this week.