Ipswich farmer's plan to cash in on Asian "meat obsession"
AUSTRALIA'S love of a cooked chook may have been satisfied, but now Coominya farmer Duncan Brown is looking to Asian markets to sell chickens and quail.
Plans are in process to develop his Brisbane Valley property into the first dedicated protein production hub in Australia to combine hatch to dispatch livestock poultry and game bird production.
The Brisbane Valley Protein Precinct will make the most of Asian markets, especially Hong Kong's, obsession with luxury game meats.
With export expected to start early next year, it's well timed with the Steggles processing plant at Wulkuraka set close in its current capacity.
The plant's closure will have little affect on Mr Brown's plans as he will continue full flight ahead with a contract with Queensland processor Darwalla.
Mr Brown said job opportunities would increase as the facility gained momentum.
In the 1920s, the average Australian ate 20kg of chicken a year, but there has been a gradual increase in our intake since then.
The nation's appetite has increased to include an average of 50kg of chicken every year.
Mr Brown said it meant the industry was too busy putting chickens on domestic tables to consider sending their birds to overseas markets.
He said farmers had met the nation's demands and there was unlikely to be a shortage of chicken in Australia in the foreseeable future.
"Australians love their chicken, it's the cheapest, healthiest protein you can buy," he said.
"There are some great niches in the export market."
Mr Brown said Australian products were sought after for their high quality and production standards.
"We are aiming for the higher-end market.
"We are not trying to compete with the local market, we are growing them in much better conditions," he said.
"Asia can produce chickens very effectively and cheaply but they see Australia producing a high welfare and safer product. There is a real concern in the middle class about food safety."
Mr Brown said quail was a particularly sought-after delicacy with a 150g to 400g bird selling for as much as $5.50.
"Our aim is to make it more mainstream. At the moment you have to go to gourmet butchers but we want to get it so you can buy it in the supermarket and put a little bit of marinade on it and straight on the barbecue," he said. "Some people find them a little bit fiddly but they're beautiful, it's got a really unique flavour, not too gamey."