MARKET SUPPORT: Rotary's Jim Baxter and Fran Hodgson receive a cheque from Vince Mailli and Anthony Gribben from BG Brisbane.
MARKET SUPPORT: Rotary's Jim Baxter and Fran Hodgson receive a cheque from Vince Mailli and Anthony Gribben from BG Brisbane.

Market absence being felt by wholesalers

WHOLESALERS in Brisbane are starting to feel the pinch as producers on the Granite Belt struggle to meet demands.

Stanthorpe is a significant supplier to markets, such as the Brisbane Produce Markets at Rocklea.

For more than 25 years BG Brisbane has been heavily involved in the market.

Over time they’ve formed lasting friendships and partnerships with Granite Belt producers.

So BG Brisbane’s directors, Vince Mailli, Anthony Gribben and Antoine Fakhry wanted to do something to demonstrate their support.

“The markets really rely on Stanthorpe,” Mr Mailli said.

“This is one of our major areas of fruit and veg once we finish out of Bundaberg, and we’ve never really been without it.

“But this year, because of the water situation, we’re going to find ourselves struggling to find good fruit and veg.

“Not to mention the hardship we’re hearing from the growers. They’re our friends.

“So we thought well what can we do.”

The BG Brisbane crew held a gold coin donation barbecue morning recently and were able to raise $5000.

On Monday, Mr Mailli and Mr Gribben travelled down to Stanthorpe to deliver the funds to the Stanthorpe Rotary Club.

“It’s not about the money because it’s not a lot of money … we just wanted to say ‘hey, we care’,” Mr Gribben said.

“We spend a lot of time here. We have good friendships from here.

“From mid-December until the first frost we have supply, and good supply from this area.

“It’s a huge part of our market and it’s a huge hole that has been left,” Mr Gribben said.

He estimates that “huge hole” could be anywhere between $6-7 million.

“That’s just with us. We’re only a very small percentage of it.

“The long term damage of it has been huge.

“There’s a lot of guys here who work very hard to get a good brand, build it and take market share.

“Now they’re not there so we’ve had to find other sources to keep supplying our customers.”

The pair say they hope other wholesalers at the Rocklea markets will hold similar fundraisers to show their support for Granite Belt producers.

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