DEPUTY Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Stoner visited one of the district’s smaller wine producers yesterday to discuss export opportunities.
Mr Stoner was told by owner of Cargo Road Winery James Sweetapple a lack of time and resources available to smaller producers, combined with the high Australian dollar, remained stumbling blocks to exploring export opportunities into Asia.
However, Mr Stoner said yesterday’s fact-finding visit was designed to show regional growers and representatives of Orange’s major food events, the state government was looking at more ways to work with the federal government to maximise opportunities for growers.
He said primary producers would play an active role in the consultation process before a state government industry and investment visit to Malaysia in June.
That visit will explore more export opportunities for the state’s primary producers, many of whom have found it difficult to open up opportunities for export themselves.
Mr Sweetapple told Mr Stoner he had exported in the past but it was a major challenge for smaller producers such as himself to spend the time developing relationships with potential overseas buyers.
He said that it remained time consuming and often didn’t result in sufficient returns.
“In my instance for example I have found that working to explore the domestic market is much more viable, however that isn’t the case perhaps for larger operators,” he said.
Mr Stoner said he was aware the district’s growers, in particular cherry producers, were facing difficulties meeting the demands of the export markets.
“For example having cherries in storage for three weeks before export to Taiwan just isn’t working and that is one of the aspects we are looking at revisiting to make it work,” Mr Stoner said.
Member for Orange Andrew Gee said Orange should be justifiably proud of its positioning on the wine market due to the commitment of people in the industry to promote the area as a wine growing destination and centre for cold climate production.