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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Premier and Minister for Trade
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk
    Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries
    The Honourable Mark Furner

    Strawberry fields for Asia


    Premier and Minister for Trade
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

    Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries
    The Honourable Mark Furner

    Friday, June 15, 2018

    Strawberry fields for Asia

    A Palaszczuk Government program to help local food businesses woo international consumers is already bearing fruit, with high hopes that Asian suppliers will soon be ordering our Red Rhapsody strawberries grown on the Sunshine Coast.

    Premier and Minister for Trade Annastacia Palaszczuk said a Queensland delegation had just returned from a 12-day export development push targeting evolving Asian markets for our strawberries.

    “This uniquely Queensland strawberry, developed right here in Queensland by Department of Agriculture staff, has attracted the interest of chefs and restauranteurs from the world,” the Premier said.

    “Now, a successful delegation to Hong Kong and Indonesia has generated great interest from suppliers, with commercial orders for the product expected to be placed in the coming days.

    “With that bumper crop of Red Rhapsody on the Sunshine Coast right now, the timing couldn’t be better.

    “DAF staff and strawberry industry representatives first focused on exporting strawberries to Indonesia and Hong Kong after a successful export trial in November 2017.

    “Feedback from that trial was very positive and this most recent trip was crucial to map the supply chain, identify consumer purchasing and consumption habits, assess key competitors and identify suitable supply chain collaborators.

    “The trip was the first under my government’s $1.3 million Growing Queensland’s Food Exports (GQFE) program to assist food companies to build their business capability to take advantage of opportunities to grow exports.”

    Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said three Queensland strawberry businesses would work collaboratively to conduct research and trials with the information to be shared with all strawberry growers in Queensland.

    “Elimbah-based E & A Coco and Sons Pty Ltd have collaborated with other Sunshine Coast strawberry businesses, Ashbern Farms and Berry Patch, and the Queensland Strawberry Grower Association and their work will ultimately benefit the entire industry,” Mr Furner said.

    “Red Rhapsody is a highly productive and flavoursome strawberry variety developed in Queensland by the DAF research team as an early harvest variety.

    “The berry itself is very resistant to diseases and bruising in the supply chain which makes it ideal for exporting to Asia.

    “Since its introduction to the market three years ago, many Queenslanders have become familiar with Red Rhapsody’s dark red/purple colour, which differentiates it from other Queensland grown winter strawberries, and good flavour balance.”

    Mr Furner said the GQFE was part of the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to increase Queensland’s exports and deliver more jobs and strong economic growth in regional areas.

    “We are assisting six diverse food companies from macadamias, mangoes and melons, to strawberries, sweet corn and pork to build their business capability in the first round of funding under the GQFE with a second round of funding available in July 2018,” Mr Furner said.

    “Companies targeting the export priorities of their sector can apply for matched funding of up to $100,000 (minimum of $50,000) over two years per eligible project with applicants to co-contribute at least 50 per cent of the total funds required.

    “The program focuses primarily on horticulture as Queensland is Australia’s largest producer of vegetables and the second largest producer of fruit and nuts.”

    The next funding round for applications opens at the start on 1 July.

    Food producers who would like to know more can phone 13 25 23 or email

    Media contacts:

    Brock Taylor (Minister Furner’s office) 0427 018 178

    Susan McGrady (Premier’s office) 0488 996 667


    Background: (Not for publication):

    A delegation of Queensland strawberry growers recently returned from Hong Kong and Indonesia.

    The delegation visited 17 different retail outlet types from the high-end supermarket chains “Great Food Hall” in Hong Kong and “Ranch Market” in Jakarta through to suburban supermarkets and the wholesale market, wet market and local street stores.

    A number of trials were also conducted exporting Queensland strawberries to Hong Kong and the fruit was viewed upon arrival at two import businesses. Fruit was viewed and turn inspections conducted with importers had very positive outcomes.