A leading casino group in Macau is taking a punt by trialling fresh Queensland strawberries developed to be suitable for export.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the Galaxy Entertainment Group, which own six hotels in Macau, trialled the Queensland grown Red Rhapsody variety in June.
“Galaxy Entertainment Group’s trial of the sweet, nutritious and juicy Red Rhapsody strawberries is an exciting opportunity with the potential to open up new and lucrative export opportunities,” Mr Furner said.
“With an average of 2.5 million visitors each month, Macau’s 44 world-class gaming resorts, with a total of 2284 restaurants and food service facilities, have pushed the demand for high-quality food ingredients to serve their guests.
“Galaxy Entertainment Group has used Red Rhapsody strawberries in deserts and their initial feedback has included positive comments about the fruit’s size, colour and taste.
“Red Rhapsody is very resistant to diseases and bruising in the supply chain, which makes it ideal for export and Galaxy Entertainment Group’s feedback gives us confidence that commercial shipments might soon be possible.”
Mr Furner said the Macau trial was part of the Queensland Government’s $1.3 million Growing Queensland’s Food Exports (GQFE) program to assist food companies to build their business capability to take advantage of opportunities to grow exports.
“Through the 13-month GQFE program, five strawberry export trials to Macau, Hong Kong and Jakarta have provided a detailed analysis of the supply chains,” Mr Furner said.
“Detailed intelligence on key competitors, consumer insights and the development of export specifications for the Red Rhapsody variety will be vital to growing new export markets which will ultimately mean more jobs for Queensland’s strawberry industry.
“This project’s outstanding results were made possible by a collaborative partnership between the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, three commercial strawberry businesses, the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association, the Queensland Strawberry Industry Promotions Council and Resource Management Consulting Group.”
Ashburn Farms’s Brendon Hoyle said supplying Galaxy Entertainment Group with their strawberries was a great opportunity.
“Our strawberries looked beautiful in their desserts,” Mr Hoyle said.
“Being involved in the Macau trial and the broader GQFE trial has allowed us to showcase what we think is a very tasty strawberry variety to international consumers.
“We hope the trial will lead to greater export opportunities as that will bring benefits not only to our business, but also to other strawberry producers and the wider community.”
Mr Furner said the Palaszczuk Government was committed to protecting and growing the Queensland strawberry industry’s worldwide reputation for safe and delicious berries.
“Queensland produces 41 per cent of Australia’s strawberries and our strawberry industry has a farm gate value of $182 million so supporting our strawberry growers simply makes good sense,” Mr Furner said.
“Since September 2018, the Government has partnered with the Queensland Strawberry Growers’ Association and provided $1 million in funding to boost the strawberry industry and help farmers.
“Our support for the industry will continue through the #eatqld campaign, at various food events and through initiatives such as the GQFE trial with Galaxy Entertainment Group.”