Australia’s Sunshine Coast Airport is hoping to boost food exports from the local region to national and international markets having signed an agreement with the Food and Agribusiness Network (FAN).

A leading food and agribusiness cluster, FAN supports the growth of the industry across Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, Gympie, Noosa and Moreton Bay. Emma Greenhatch, FAN’s general manager explained that the “expansion of the Sunshine Coast Airport will open up new trade opportunities for our food and agribusiness industry both nationally and internationally.”

With more than 900 businesses operating in horticulture, dairy production, seafood, nurseries and food and beverage processing, the Sunshine Coast’s food industry is valued at $750 million annually and is expected to reach $1 billion by 2022. Food and agribusiness also supports a burgeoning food tourism sector, with the region renowned for its foodie scene, which includes cooking schools, farm-gate experiences, specialist food tours and craft brewers, as well as restaurants.

The launch of a new extended runway in 2020, along with plans for a dedicated freight logistics centre as part of the recently announced Sunshine Coast Airport Draft Master Plan 2040 is set to benefit the region’s food industry even further.

“The infrastructure planned for the airport has the potential to accelerate the growth of food exports over the next two decades,” said Andrew Brodie, Sunshine Coast Airport CEO. “Initial research has shown that local businesses list exports as their biggest opportunity to expand sales over the next five years, and they would consider utilising Sunshine Coast Airport provided it is commercially viable.”

He added that to complement the opportunities provided by the new runway, the proposed logistics and freight centre would include cold storage facilities tailored specifically for freighting fresh produce and processed foods.”

Expressing her enthusiasm for the agreement Greenhatch added, “we look forward to working closely with the Sunshine Coast Airport to facilitate new growth opportunities for our food and agribusiness industry.”

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