The Palaszczuk Government has thrown its support being local strawberry growers with the launch of Queensland’s summer strawberry season at Applethorpe.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Queensland strawberries were grown from October to May in the Granite Belt/Stanthorpe region, supporting more than 8000 jobs.
“Queensland strawberry growers produce up to 30,000 tonnes each season,” Ms Palasazczuk said.
“That’s 60 million punnets of fruit per season which is about 40 percent of Australia’s annual strawberry production.
“They’re sweet, delicious and nutritious summer strawberries are perfect for many uses during summer like fruit salads, a topping on breakfast cereals, in cakes, as a tasty snack and even as a garnish for drinks.
“This campaign is about supporting the strawberry industry and I urge all Queenslanders to do just that – support the Queensland strawberry industry and buy Queensland strawberries.”
Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said the Palaszczuk Government had partnered with the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association (QSGA) to help restore consumer confidence in Queensland strawberries, assisting the industry to recover from recent contamination incidents.
“In September, the Premier announced $1 million in funding to boost the strawberry industry and help farmers,” Mr Furner said.
“Since that announcement, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) has worked with the QSGA and Growcom, through a Back to Market Working Group, to determine the best way forward.
“Already, $600,000 has been allocated to restore consumer confidence in strawberries through a targeted campaign, $250,000 has been allocated for safeguarding supply chain integrity and $150,000 has been allocated for the QSGA and Growcom to assist growers with the ongoing response and recovery.
“Growcom, in partnership with QSGA, has also engaged a full-time strawberry industry recovery officer to assist growers and the broader Queensland strawberry industry supply chains.”
Mr Furner said Queensland’s strawberries were not only sweet-tasting, they also made a sweet contribution to the state’s economy.
“The value of Queensland strawberries for 2017–18 is forecast to be $160 million with industry reporting its value is trending upwards of $200m or about 40 percent of the national $500 million strawberry industry,” Mr Furner said.
There are approximately 100 strawberry growers in Queensland, with most production around Beerwah, Wamuran, Elimbah, Caboolture, Bundaberg and the Stanthorpe/Granite Belt area.