Taiwanese food buyers get taste of Bundy
AT HALF the size of Tasmania and with a population of 24 million, Taiwan is home to the world’s keenest fresh produce consumers – and it is looking to strengthen its relationship with the Bundaberg region.
Bundaberg producers brought their A-game as a delegation of 25 Taiwanese food buyers and investors gathered yesterday to sample the region’s finest and potentially form relationships worth millions of dollars.
The forum comes as, in a huge step for local growers, Trade and Investment Queensland reached a memorandum of understanding to give Queensland lychee growers access to lychee varieties from Taiwan.
“Bundaberg has produced a wide variety of healthy, nutritious, fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts and herbs,” Ken Lai, director general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Brisbane, said.
“In Taiwan we have about the same population as Australia, but about 2% of the land. So we need a lot of imports.”
Taiwan also has an economy on par or slightly wealthier than Australia, so “people are interested in buying high end products,” Mr Lai said.
Taiwan also has the world’s highest per capita consumption of fresh fruit – 140kg per year, nearly three times the world average.
It is the sixth largest trading partner with Queensland, behind economic heavyweights the US, China, Japan, South Korea and India.
“We can work together to supplement each other,” Mr Lai said.
Mr Lai has worked on making the event happen with TIQ regional adviser Brett Tucker since his last visit to Bundaberg in October.
“It’s phenomenal what this region has to offer,” Mr Tucker said.
“We want to let our exporters see the big picture.”
Events and introductions were vital in building trade, he said.
“Taiwan is very important for us. They have high living standards and high expectations, and traditionally it’s been very protected and very hard for us to make progress.
“The delegates here are quite stunned and they’ve got extended networks – so although there are 25 here today, they’ll talk to 500.”
Australian Seafood, Macadamias Australia, Abbotsleigh Citrus, Farmfresh Fine Foods, Gin Gin and Dry, Bundy Juice, Bucca Beans, Bargara Brewing Co and Waterview Distillery were just some of the producers who took time out of the busy harvest season to talk Taiwanese trade.