Darling Downs leads the way with horticulture exports to Japan

Published Thursday, 02 June, 2016 at 12:00 PM

Deputy Premier, Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning and Minister for Trade and Investment
The Honourable Jackie Trad

With the Darling Downs region leading the way, Japan has become Queensland’s third-largest overseas market for broccoli after just one season of exports, injecting $1 million into the region and creating an extra 25 part-time jobs.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment Jackie Trad said the initial export results were great news for regional Queensland, and followed the successful re-entry of Queensland broccoli exports into the Japanese market after an absence of more than nine years.

“Last year’s broccoli sales to Japan injected $1 million into the Darling Downs economy and created 25 new part-time jobs,” Ms Trad said.

“On average, Japan imports 36,000 tonnes of fresh broccoli each year. Australia’s national production is at only 50,000 tonnes, so there is a very large export market for broccoli and other vegetables in Japan.

“With broccoli exports to Japan set to triple over the next two seasons, as well as expanding markets and rising demand in both Singapore and Taiwan, it is projected that an extra 40 part-time jobs will be created in new production areas on the Darling Downs and more than $6 million injected into the regions.

“Qualipac, a Lockyer Valley-based grower, has taken the lead in developing this opportunity with the Queensland Government and is already collaborating with other growers in the Pittsworth and St George areas.

“Despite ongoing drought conditions in many areas, Queensland agricultural exports as a whole were valued at $9.4 billion in 2015, a 17 per cent growth on the previous year.

“This shows our producers are continuing to shine in a tough climate and their innovation and hard work are paying off for the sector and the Queensland economy.”

Ms Trad said the Government’s global business development agency, Trade and Investment Queensland (TIQ), had been working closely with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) and Horticulture Innovation Australia, to help Queensland’s vegetable and horticulture growers benefit from increasing opportunities in the Japanese market.

“There are a number of market opportunities currently in front of us with Japan, including the reduction or elimination of tariffs on most horticulture products under the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement, a lower Australian dollar and drought in the US, Australia’s key competitor.

“The Palaszczuk Government has been working hard to ensure our regional growers capture these new market opportunities and expand into other horticulture lines.

“In fact, a new packing facility and production area is currently being established at Inglewood, with support from a DAF-led Murray-Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification program, to supply these new export markets,” she said.

Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Leanne Donaldson said this was a fantastic development for Queensland horticulture and represented a real breakthrough.

“Exports such as this open up new outlets for our growers and as a consequence we are already seeing broccoli and other horticulture crops grown in new regional areas, with new supporting infrastructure and jobs,” Ms Donaldson said.

“One of Japan’s largest horticulture importers, Union Corporation, visited Queensland last month to organise this season’s broccoli exports and is also seeking to expand into other fruit and vegetable lines from here.

“DAF is planning a trade mission to Japan and Taiwan in June to build on the success of the broccoli exports, and expand into new products such as cos lettuce, cabbage, packaged salads, nuts and celery.

Other recent export success stories in Queensland’s agriculture industry include:

  • winter barley up 70 per cent to $92 million;
  • wheat yields up 33 per cent to around $410 million; and
  • the cattle and calves sector which is on track to record at 31 per cent growth on earlier forecasts to $4.3 billion.


Media contact: 0432 446 268