SWEET DEAL: Ashbern Farms in Stanthorpe is one of several strawberry growers on the Granite Belt, which contributes to the 6000 to 15,000 tonnes of fruit produced each season in Queensland.
SWEET DEAL: Ashbern Farms in Stanthorpe is one of several strawberry growers on the Granite Belt, which contributes to the 6000 to 15,000 tonnes of fruit produced each season in Queensland. Matthew Purcell

Pledge to our producers

GRANITE Belt strawberry growers have received a boost in a time of industry crisis with the State Government pledging monetary support to our producers.

A million dollars has been committed to the industry state-wide as it comes to terms with the ramifications of recent contamination incidents.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said part of that money would be to "help growers for the remainder of this season and as the summer strawberry season in the Granite Belt ramps up”.

"This past week, Queensland has been the victim of an ugly, calculated and despicable crime.

"The sabotage of our strawberry industry is not just an attack on hardworking growers and workers, but it reaches into almost every home and school lunch box,” she said.

Queensland strawberry industry officer Jennifer Rowling called for calm and common sense.

"Fundamentally we are looking at a very small number of cases of actual tampering,” Ms Rowling said.

"The advice to cut open all strawberries prior to consumption still remains.”

With picking set to start locally in the coming weeks, Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has offered his support to the local industry.

"The Granite Belt produces, in my view, the best strawberries in the world. We should be proud of that and we should continue to market that and remind everybody that they grow right here on the Granite Belt,” Mr Littleproud told the Border Post.

"These idiots that have done this (tampering) need to be caught and made an example of. We're moving legislation to increase penalties on this.

"We want to get confidence back in the industry. It's so important that we can give that confidence that people can walk into the shops and the provenance of their food, quality of their food, is of the highest standard.

"We need to make sure we put the environment around those farmers to allow them to continue to do that.

"Australians can lead this by going in and continuing to buy strawberries. They can send a larger message than any government can to these parasites.

"We're going to stand shoulder to shoulder with them (Granite Belt producers) - but if they are in hardship, can I ask that they reach out,” Mr Littleproud said.

The Border Post attempted to contact all strawberry and strawberry runner growers in the area but none wished to provide comment.

Stanthorpe Border Post

Local Partners