Farmers are looking for export opportunities

Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce with Member for Page Kevin Hogan ahead of Tuesday's Nationals dinner date at South Grafton Ex-Servicemen's Club. Photo: Tim Howard / Daily Examiner
Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce with Member for Page Kevin Hogan ahead of Tuesday's Nationals dinner date at South Grafton Ex-Servicemen's Club. Photo: Tim Howard / Daily Examiner Tim Howard

CLARENCE Valley rural producers wanting to crack overseas markets are hoping to get on Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce's next trade mission to China in September.

Mr Joyce was in Grafton on Tuesday to attend a long-promised dinner engagement for local member and fellow National, Member for Page Kevin Hogan.

The minister was to be the guest of honour at a Nationals dinner in April but had to pull out at the last minute.

"As a colleague of Kevin's in the Nationals I owed it to Kevin to come along tonight," Mr Joyce said.

Speaking before the dinner, Mr Joyce said he expected to field a lot of inquiries from small, value-adding businesses wanting to find overseas markets for their products.

He and Mr Hogan, whose electorates of New England and Page border each other, are particularly excited by a blueberry farm development near Tabulam.

"It's a development that will eventually employ 400 people," Mr Joyce said.

He said the farm aims to produce its fruit for a three-month window in the Chinese market where the market has not been able to source product.

Mr Joyce said another local producer, Big River Dairy, was also looking to get into the Chinese milk market, following the recent Norco deal with China.

"With prices between $9 and $12 a litre for milk in China, it's a market that's raising a few eyebrows here," Mr Joyce said.

China is looking overseas for safe milk products following the 2008 scandal that erupted when local milk and baby formula was found to be tainted with melamine.

"They look on our milk as safe, which is part of the reason for the price it's getting," Mr Joyce said.

He said there are seven industries locally looking for overseas opportunities.

Topics:  agriculture, barnaby joyce, clarence valley, kevin hogan, nationals, tabulam

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