Oversized broccoli and cauliflower previously destined for livestock feed will be redirected onto Australian families’ dinner plates.
Plans are in place to build a state-of-theart, Queensland first floretting machine at Qualipac on the Warrego Highway in the Lockyer Valley. The machine will be capable of processing otherwise out of spec food to a saleable product.
Broccoli and cauliflower heads too big for market specifications were previously sold below cost for livestock feed but the latest technology will process them up small enough to meet consumer demand in supermarkets and green grocers.
Company directors Troy and Bradley Qualischefski are among 15 successful agricultural business owners under the latest round of Queensland Government Regional Economic Development Grants.
Bradley Qualischefski said existing customers were relying on frozen imported cauliflower and broccoli products, where facilities in Tasmania were already at capacity and seasonal conditions did not allow for expansion.
He said the project would deliver significant benefits for Australian producers and open a market for a product line that did not already exist in Queensland.
“This project is about improving an existing product that already has consumer markets in place,” he said.
“It is expected 2500 tonnes of broccoli floretts and 680 tonnes of cauliflower floretts would be required annually while there is also interest from overseas markets for floretted Australian produce.
“We are comfortable in the knowledge consumers are prepared to pay a higher price for Australian grown produce. We are replacing and improving an existing imported product rather than recreating a new one.”
He said it was expected 20 full time jobs in production, including 18 in the growing, harvesting and production stages of the value chain would need to be filled.
“Growing, harvesting and processing of broccoli is labour intensive and as a result, the project will result in increased employment on both the growing and processing sides of the project,” Mr Qualischefski said.
Qualipac has 700 hectares of farming property in the Lockyer Valley, Eastern Darling Downs and Inglewood regions and employ more than 120 full-time staff during peak season.
Key product lines include broccoli, onions, pumpkin, sweet corn, beetroot and green beans.
The $10 million Rural Economic Development Grants program provides for three funding rounds over a three-year period ending in 2021. Expressions of interest for round two close on 6 September.
The Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) administer the RED Grant scheme on behalf of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.
For more information about the RED Grant scheme visit www.qrida.qld.gov.au/redgrants