French Ambassador to explore tropical food trade opportunities.


Tropical cacao, papaya, coffee and gin will be showcased to France’s Ambassador to Australia on a tour of North Queensland this week looking at export opportunities.

Regional Development Australia (RDA) Tropical North CEO Sonja Johnson said the Ambassador of France to Australia, the Hon Mr Jean-Pierre Thébault, and a delegation from the French Embassy would arrive in the Far North tomorrow (June 14) to tour the region.

“His Excellency Mr Thébault is a passionate foodie who works closely with RDA Canberra around their food project and he is keen to explore the trade, export and investment opportunities in agriculture and food production in Tropical North Queensland,” she said.

“RDA Tropical North has created an itinerary in conjunction with RDA Townsville and North West Queensland showcasing innovative local businesses producing export-quality products and applying best-practice production techniques.”

RDA Tropical North Chair David Kempton said the visit is integral to the Tropical North Queensland Regional Food Network Cluster Development Project which aims to increase innovation and value-added food products for export markets.

“The businesses participating in the Ambassador’s visit are part of the local food and agriculture industry cluster which is undertaking several events this year to showcase the local food industry and its associated businesses,” he said.

“Development of the food cluster is one of RDA Tropical North’s pillars to create jobs and grow the Far North Queensland economy and this visit by the Ambassador is an exciting opportunity for the group.

“His Excellency is keen to strengthen the relationship between France and Australia through his passion for food.

“In addition to export opportunities Mr Thébault will be looking at cultural exchange opportunities that offer skills training with food producers, farmers and culinary schools.”

Skybury Café and Roastery General Manager Candy MacLaughlin said the Ambassador’s visit would be a wonderful opportunity to showcase unique products suitable for export.

“Skybury coffee is being served at a café under the Eiffel Tower and our next step is to take our value-add papaya products to the international market,” she said.

“Skybury has already gained international recognition for our papaya vodka which won Gold at the London Spirit Awards last year and we have a strong domestic following for our papaya jams.

“This week we launch papaya seed facial oil giving us yet another unique product to show the Ambassador.”


Regional Development Australia Tropical North is an independent agency driven by community leaders to broker regional development solutions that will create jobs and grow the Far North Queensland economy.


Media contact:
RDA Tropical North CEO Sonja Johnson – 0493 080 143 |

For more information about Regional Development Australia Tropical North please visit