A Sunshine Coast fingerlime orchard that lost its export and national markets to the COVID-19 pandemic is rebounding with a grant under Queensland’s economic recovery plan.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said Green Valley Fingerlimes successfully applied for a share of the Palaszczuk Government’s $500,000 Market Diversification and Resilience Grant Program.
“Like other economies around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic hit Queensland businesses hard,” Mr Furner said.
“We are continuing to manage the health response well and that means we can start to deliver Queensland’s plan for economic recovery.
“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 $7,500 grant to buy vital new equipment will help Green Valley Fingerlimes, which employs two people and regular seasonal workers, to survive and thrive.
“Queensland’s plan for economic recovery is all about jobs, and that is exactly what we are supporting with this grant,” Mr Furner said.
“The grant will be used to buy a new blast chiller and freezer room, allowing the business to diversify from fresh only to frozen finger lime products for Australian and overseas markets.
“Green Valley Fingerlimes is a prime example of a Queensland agribusiness building resilience and finding opportunity from adversity.”
Company Director Jade King said the current season of at least two tonnes of fingerlimes could have been lost without the new equipment to freeze the fruit.
“With funding support from the Queensland Government, we can salvage some product, and also be able to look at selling frozen product into various export and national markets, for the first time,” Ms King said.
“We’ve had to turn away enquiries for frozen fruit because we could only meet fresh market demand, so the freezers will give us the opportunity to break into new markets including Japan and the United States that only accept frozen product.
“Diversifying our business operation through new product lines will make us more resilient to changing circumstances in the future.”
Green Valley Fingerlimes exported fresh finger limes to Italy, Singapore and Hong Kong and supplied the domestic restaurant market, until the coronavirus pandemic struck.
More than 150 businesses applied for the first round of the Market Diversification and Resilience Grants Program for COVID-19 affected exporters – part of the Queensland Government’s $27.25 million coronavirus industry economic recovery package.