Horticulture

Showcasing opportunities

By Country News

A Greater Shepparton delegation to China and Indonesia has met with AusTrade Commissioners, advocating for apple and pear protocols to be developed.

This comes almost a year after protocols were inked allowing more local stone fruit to be exported to China, hailed at the time as significant for the Goulburn Valley by regional leaders.

That protocol allowed peaches, plums and apricots to be fully exported to China, opening up ripe trade corridors for local growers and the potential, some said at the time, for business expansion.

The current four-person delegation, which includes city council staff, the mayor and a local orchardist, outlined development that has occurred within the municipality since last year’s visit, the impact of the implementation of these recent stone fruit protocols, and outlined the investment opportunities.

Council’s sustainable development director Geraldine Christou said great opportunities existed for the council to provide content to AusTrade ‘‘such as seasonal conditions, fruit varieties available and general marketing of our provenance and liveability story to tens of thousands of subscribers.’’

Other meetings saw Business Victoria representatives updated on the implementation of an engagement strategy, on key investment areas and the council’s pitch for a regional ‘city deal’ — ‘‘and the investment that has occurred in our region most recently,’’ Mayor Kim O’Keeffe added.

The council said it had also outlined the ‘‘significant solar investment interest’’ that had been generated in the past 12 months.

Cr O’Keeffe said the trip was ‘‘providing the opportunity to build strong international relationships and showcase Greater Shepparton and the opportunities we offer in investment, export and also lifestyle’’.

Last year, the council’s chief executive Peter Harriott said new stone fruit protocols held the potential to expedite efforts to secure a proposed Shepparton airport expansion and relocation to ensure the region could capitalise on the new opportunities.

Mooroopna orchardist Peter Hall, also on the delegation, last year said based on experience, the Chinese market could offer up to a 50 per cent premium on price.