The freshness and quality of the agricultural produce grown across the Bundaberg Region stimulated enthusiastic commentary from visiting High Commissioner for India, Dr Ajay Gondane during a visit to Macadamias Australia yesterday.
With Bundaberg producing 43 per cent of the 50,000 tonnes national macadamia harvest, Dr Gondane was happy to talk export potential for not only macadamias but the broad spectrum of crops that make the Bundaberg Region the salad bowl of Australia.
“With India’s population sitting at around 1.3 billion it's obvious that much of our food needs to be imported and from what I have seen and read about Bundaberg there is untapped potential here,” Dr Gondane said.
Macadamias Australia director Trevor Steinhardt said the recent relaxation of tariffs in India made the prospect of establishing trade links far more appealing.
“The tariffs on imported macadamias have fallen from 50 per cent to 12 per cent which does raise the possibility of expanding our business into India,” he said.
Bundaberg Regional Council Economic Development advisor Helen Swanson said Council was playing an active role in exploring investment and trade opportunities across a number of regional enterprises.
“Having the High Commissioner here is a great initiative that allows the producer to establish meaningful links with a potential customer base,” Helen said.
“We are working across the region and across many sectors including manufacturing and tourism in addition to agriculture.”
High Commissioner admires region
Dr Gondane also visited Bundaberg Brewed Drinks as part of his inspection agenda.
”Watching the manufacturing processes one could not help but admire the modern production facilities and, of course, the quality end product,” he said.
Mr Steinhardt provided the High Commissioner with a comprehensive tour of the Macadamias Australia facility and detailed plans for the current expansion of the business.
“My visit to Bundaberg has been a wonderful experience, a real eye opener. Bundaberg is a hub of agricultural production,” he said.
“The way food processing is done, the way hygiene is maintained through the processing chain is quite wonderful.”
Mayor Jack Dempsey thanked Dr and Mrs Gondane for their interest.
“This was the first diplomatic visit under a new initiative aimed at fostering business and cultural links for the Bundaberg Region with international partners,” he said.
“Dr Gondane commented at the end of his tour that he felt welcome from the moment he arrived.
“There are several opportunities for exports, education and cultural exchanges which Council will now explore.”