TWENTY eight boxes of broccoli bound for Singapore have left Queensland’s Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport, in what both government and industry hope will mark the start of a lucrative new trade.

“1824 kilograms of broccoli grown by Qualipac near Inglewood and picked on Wednesday will be on supermarket shelves in Singapore [soon],” state agriculture minister Mark Furner said.

“The initial load is 228 boxes, each weighing eight kilograms, of fresh broccoli packed in ice and two additional shipments are also planned in the near future.”

Mr Furner said the Queensland government aimed to make the most of a weekly freight flight subsidised by the Federal International Freight Assistance Mechanism.

“Like other economies around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic hit Queensland businesses hard,” Mr Furner said.

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“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.”

He said the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries had been working with growers to source fresh produce for the Singapore Airlines flight from Wellcamp Airport, with a view to it becoming commercially sustainable after the pandemic.

“Broccoli exports to Singapore were previously done on passenger flights out of Brisbane which are now rare and freight costs are prohibitive,” he said.

The Department also has been supporting the production of new high value horticultural crops in the Inglewood area of southern Queensland and the development of new export markets and logistics options under the Queensland Murray Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification project.

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