Proteco managing director Josh Gadischke will be part of a high-powered trade delegation to Hong Kong which aims to open up new markets for the South Burnett’s food products

May 2, 2019

The South Burnett may be home to less than 1 per cent of Queensland’s population, but it will make up one-ninth of a high-powered trade mission that will be leaving for Hong Kong next week.

Representatives from Proteco Oils and Moffatdale Ridge Winery will be travelling with a State Government trade delegation to HOFEX, Asia’s leading food and hospitality trade show.

The trip will be the third time Proteco has been represented at the show, and the second for Moffatdale Ridge.

On Thursday, Proteco managing director Josh Gadischke said he was looking forward to the trip, despite the cost.

Proteco now exports walnut and macadamia oils to China as a result of earlier visits to HOFEX, and Josh is convinced there are more export opportunities awaiting the company in the booming Asian market.

“The way it works, you meet hundreds of other businesses at events like this,” Josh said.

“Then, over time, you qualify them and they do the same, and this quickly whittles down to a much smaller number of potentially serious buyers.”

Josh said the next step was usually to send a small test order – often just a pallet of product – to check if there are were hurdles in the supply chain between buyer and seller.

“Sometimes there are Customs issues or other things that turn up, and they only occur when you have a shipment in transit. So it’s good for everyone to do a small trial first to find what the problems are and how to iron them out,” Josh said.

“Once that’s solved, we can move on to container loads.”

Moffatdale Ridge Winery owner Jason Kinsella is equally upbeat about the prospect of shipping South Burnett wines to Hong Kong and the booming Chinese economy.

Hong Kong imports more than $1.8 billion of wine annually, and Australian wines now command almost one-fifth of that market.

In 2017, Jason and the South Burnett Wine Industry Association arranged a visit to the region by influential Wine Luxe magazine editor Nelson Siu to introduce the region to Hong Kong buyers.

This was followed up with a visit to HOFEX the same year, which generated many contacts.

Jason said he held talks with wine distributors in southern China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, where he had a very positive reaction to the region’s verdelhos and reds.

But because doing business in Asia is based on building personal relationships, he felt it would require more trips to Hong Kong before any export deal could be inked.

He remains confident the local wine industry can crack the Asian market, and believes it will lead to growth in the sector.

“Because of our climate, we can grow many varieties that either don’t do as well if they’re grown in other parts of Australia, or don’t grow at all,” Jason said.

“We are now producing wines that are equal to the best in Australia.

“All we need now are market outlets that encourage us to plant more vines and produce more wines, and export markets are the logical choice.”

Agricultural Industry Development Minister Mark Furner is leading the 18-strong business delegation to Hong Kong.

Mr Furner said it was an important opportunity to explore and expand opportunities to export Queensland food products to Chinese markets.

“This trade mission has one objective and one objective only, and that is to grow Queensland jobs by expanding export market opportunities for these businesses,” Mr Furner said.

While HOFEX will be a key event, the delegation will also visit to Chongqing, a major city in south-west China to attend the official opening of the Chongqing-Australia Trade and Economic Forum.

“This trade mission is a massive opportunity for the Queensland food and beverage businesses who take part,” Mr Furner said.

“We will have Game Meat Processing from Ipswich, Ballistic Beer Co from Brisbane, Gotzinger Smallgoods from Yatala, Human Bean from Goondiwindi and Brisbane Valley Protein from the Scenic Rim, just to name a few.”

Queensland’s total goods exports reached more than $80 billion in the year to November, including $5.3 billion in beef exports.

Mr Furner said significant investments and strategic trade missions had directly contributed to Queensland’s growing export story.

“Trade means jobs, and we are working hard to strengthen our trade relationships to bring more jobs in a stronger Queensland economy,” he said.

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