By Growcom CEO Stephen Barnard

Expanding existing and creating new trade relationships is going to be essential if agriculture is to act as the cornerstone of the Queensland economic recovery from COVID-19.

While horticulture is an exceptionally efficient engine in turning sunshine, soils, energy and water into regional jobs and wealth, we need new destinations for our produce.  

Government interventions to stimulate production, including irrigation water price reductions, will only disrupt domestic markets unless export market access is expanded.

And so Growcom has welcomed the announcement this week from Premier Palaszczuk and Minister Furner of a new grants program aimed at helping Queensland export businesses better sell their products online to overseas customers.

The E-commerce Grants Program will offer up to $10,000 to Queenslanders to ramp up their online activity in our key export markets.

Growcom also welcomes the recent Australian Government extension of the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) to the end of September, giving Australian businesses reliant on airfreight extra time to adapt to the new international trade environment.

While COVID-19 has caused enormous disruption to our trade in fresh produce the race is now on to secure advantages in what has come to be called as the ‘new normal’.

These two programs together, from different levels of government, give growers and exporters additional time, space and support to pivot toward the new opportunities that any great disruption creates.

At this time of change, Growcom is supporting exporters, and importantly, celebrating their work through this challenging time.

As part of the upcoming Hort Connections conference in Brisbane in early June, and with the support of the Queensland Government, Growcom is delivering a session with export experts to give growers the understanding of the evolving trade landscape and insights they need to make better business decisions for the future.

Growcom urges all growers with an interest in export to get along to this session.    

During the conference, on Tuesday 8 June, Growcom will also be hosting the inaugural the Queensland Horticulture Export Dinner as an opportunity to showcase the Queensland horticulture industry and celebrate our export achievements.

On the night we will be recognising outstanding export achievements in awarding the Queensland Exporter of the Year and the New Exporter Award.  

For more information on the new E-commerce Grant, visit www.tiq.qld.gov.au.

For more information on the Queensland Horticulture Export Dinner, to nominate for an award or book your ticket, visit www.growcom.com.au/qhed.