From mangoes and macadamias to strawberries, sweet corn and pork, Queensland food producers are sharing in $1.3 million in grants to help them conquer international markets.

The Growing Queensland’s Food Exports Program is designed to boost Queensland’s regional economies by helping local food producers build their export capability.

The first round of the program has awarded grants of up to $100,000 to a range of producers, including Manbulloo mangoes in Far North Queensland, Macadamias Australia in Bundaberg, and SunPork Fresh Foods in South East Queensland.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said six food companies had received funding in the first round of the program.

‘The producers selected for grants are either already exporting or are ready to export and seeking to access overseas markets,’ he said.

‘By providing funding of up to $100,000, we’re assisting these food companies to build their business capability to take advantage of opportunities to grow exports.

‘There’ll be an increased knowledge of target export market destinations and consumers, and an improved understanding of competitors, product specifications, supply chain handling and export business practices.’

Projects receiving grants in the first round of funding are:

  • Manbulloo (Far North Queensland) – to expand mango exports to Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore
  • Macadamias Australia (Bundaberg) – to develop export-ready retail products
  • Mulgowie Fresh (Lockyer) – to capitalise on packaged sweet corn consumer traceability
  • E & A Coco and Sons (Elimbah) – to export strawberries to Hong Kong and Indonesia
  • SunPork Fresh Foods (Kingaroy and Murarrie) – to develop pork products for the high-end Asian market
  • VFPlus (Burdekin) – to develop exports of high-quality melons to Japan and Singapore.

The Growing Queensland’s Food Exports Program focuses primarily on horticulture, though other producers can also apply.

The program provides grants of $50,000–$100,000, with successful applicants contributing at least 50% of the required project funding.

Applications for a second round of grants will open in July 2018.

Queensland is Australia’s largest producer of vegetables and second largest producer of fruit and nuts.

Increasing the state’s share of national exports and strengthening regional economies are both priorities of the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.