A Cairns live seafood exporter that lost much of its trade due to the COVID-19 pandemic is among the first agribusiness exporters to receive funding from a new Queensland Government economic recovery program.

TIQ client Torres Straits Seafood successfully applied for a share of the $500,000 Market Diversification and Resilience Grant Program.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the Queensland Government was committed to supporting agribusiness exporters like Torres Straits Seafood, which was hard hit after exports to China were suspended in January due to COVID-19.

‘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,’ Mr Furner said.

‘The Queensland Government, through Trade and Investment Queensland has assisted Torres Straits Seafood to source a new export customer in Hong Kong and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has now provided the company with a grant to buy vital new equipment to support their export ambitions.’

Mr Furner, who visited Torres Straits Seafood in Cairns last month, said the new equipment would help the company diversify its product range.

‘A $7,500 grant to purchase a vacuum packaging machine and an ice maker will allow the business, which employs 14 people, to diversify, value-adding to the production line by increasing its frozen seafood products,’ he said.

‘Torres Straits Seafood is a prime example of a Queensland agribusiness building resilience and finding opportunity from adversity.’

The Market Diversification and Resilience Grants program provides matched funding grants of up to $7,500 to help commercial fishing, charter fishing and aquaculture businesses survive the impacts of COVID-19.

More than 150 businesses applied for the first round of the program, which is part of the Queensland Government’s $27.25 million coronavirus industry economic recovery package.

If you’re a Queensland business seeking government support to address the challenges of COVID-19, visit the Coronavirus business assistance finder for information on a wide range of support programs.