A delegation of Queensland strawberry growers and industry representatives recently returned from Hong Kong and Indonesia.
The delegation visited 17 different retail outlets, from high-end supermarket chains such as Great Food Hall in Hong Kong and Ranch Market in Jakarta, right through to suburban wet markets and local street stores.
While encouraged by the opportunity they saw to ship fruit into these markets, the delegates also gained an impression of the competitive environment they are entering.
“Hong Kong is a very competitive market with strawberries from the US available in every market type,” said Luigi Coco, chairman of the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association and a strawberry grower from Elimbah. “US strawberries are also available in Jakarta with locally-grown Indonesia strawberries also available.”
The delegation coincided with a number of trials involving Queensland strawberry exports.
Coco, from A&E Coco and Sons, Charmaine Davey from Berry Patch Marketing, and Brendon and Ashleigh Hoyle from Ashbern Farms all collaborated to trial shipments to both Hong Kong and Jakarta.
“Within 24 hours of picking the strawberries on our farm, they can arrive at the importer's distribution centre in Hong Kong” said Brendon Hoyle. “The Hong Kong cold chain is very sophisticated and strong relationships between these businesses and the retail and food service industry has been established”.
The supply chain to Jakarta is slightly more complex than Hong Kong, with no direct flights from Brisbane currently available. There is also a requirement for pest treatment.
Despite these challenges, Queensland strawberries were exported and available for purchase by consumers.
“It was a highlight seeing strawberries from our farm being sold and purchased in Ranch Market in Jakarta,” said Davey. “The colour and size of the Queensland-bred strawberry varieties, including Red Rhapsody, are very attractive to the consumer.”
Jennifer Rowling, the development officer for Queensland Strawberry Growers, and Clinton McGrath and Bronwyn Ford, both from the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, were also part of the delegation.
The travel was part of a project funded by the Queensland government’s Growing Queensland Food Exports programme, which was also supported by the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association.