EXPORT DRIVE: Group photo at Wing Kee importers Hong Kong
EXPORT DRIVE: Group photo at Wing Kee importers Hong Kong Contributed

Granite Belt strawberries feeding Asian markets

GRANITE Belt strawberries might soon be feeding people in Hong Kong and Indonesia after a recent export trial success.

A delegation of Queensland strawberry growers visited 17 retail outlets from the high-end supermarket chain Great Food Hall in Hong Kong and Ranch Market in Jakarta through to suburban supermarkets, markets and street stores.

Local grower Brendon Hoyle, of Ashbern Farms, was part of the delegation. He said his business had exported through an exporting business before but he was keen to find out if they could do it directly.

"How much work's involved? Who's the competition? Do they have the infrastructure?” - these are questions he sought to answer on the trip, he said.

"You want an efficient process - you don't want your strawberries taken off the plane and left on the tarmac for two hours.”

Asked how his produce fared after the plane trip, he said it "travelled fine”.

"It presented well and arrived well ... it didn't lose quality.”

Mr Hoyle said the trial had been a success and he was confident infrastructure was available to ensure his fruit was kept cool and fresh.

Within 24 hours of picking the strawberries on his farm, they can arrive at the importers' distribution centre in Hong Kong, he said. While a glut of strawberries had driven investigations into possible export markets, Mr Hoyle said the focus would now shift to ensuring a reliable supply for overseas buyers.

"Ultimately we've seen the strawberry industry grow, and we want to diversify the market,” he said.

The supply chain to Jakarta is more complex than Hong Kong, as there aren't any direct flights from Brisbane available and pest treatment is required.

Despite these challenges, Queensland strawberries were also exported and available for purchase by consumers.

Stanthorpe Border Post

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