Broccoli in field

The first export of fresh Queensland broccoli from Toowoomba’s Wellcamp Airport arrived in Singapore over the weekend. The produce was grown by Qualipac and the export is shaping up as an important step forward for the region’s Covid-19 economic recovery.

Queensland minister for agricultural industry development and fisheries, Mark Furner, said the state government assisted industry to get the shipment off the ground.

“The initial load is 228 boxes, each weighing 8kg, of fresh broccoli packed in ice and two additional shipments are also planned in the near future,” said Furner.

The Queensland Government is aiming to make the most of a weekly freight flight subsidised by the Federal International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM).

“Like other economies around the world, the Covid-19 pandemic hit Queensland businesses hard,” explained Furner.

“We are continuing to manage the health response well and that means we can start to deliver Queensland’s plan for economic recovery.

“The Queensland Government is working closely with industry on the economic recovery of the agriculture and fisheries sectors, including agribusiness exporters who support thousands of jobs.

“Around one in seven Queenslanders are employed in agribusiness and food and we must do all we can to protect those jobs including the A$11bn export market,” he added.

Queensland’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has been working with growers to source fresh produce for the Singapore Airlines flight from Wellcamp Airport, with a view to it becoming commercially sustainable after the coronavirus pandemic.

“Broccoli exports to Singapore were previously done on passenger flights out of Brisbane which are now rare and freight costs are prohibitive,” said Furner.

The Department has also been supporting the production of new high value horticultural crops in the Inglewood area and the development of new export markets and logistics options under the Queensland Murray Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification project.