Honduran melon about to enter Japan

Arnaldo Castillo, the Minister of the Secretariat of Economic Development (SDE), said the excellent phytosanitary and quality measures used to produce Honduran melon have allowed this product to secure an important space in the huge Japanese market, which invests about 1,000 million dollars buying melons, watermelons, and papayas each year.

He also told the press that Honduras could be sending its first shipment of melons to Japan by the end of April.

"Thanks to the efforts of the Government and businessmen we've been able to certify the melons so that they can enter Japan," he said.

In turn, German Perez Destephen, former Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (SAG), said that, with this certification, Honduras would have the opportunity of exporting between 300 and 400 containers of fruit per year to Japan, which, as a result of the high price paid by the Japanese market for the fruit, would represent revenues for more than 100 million dollars.

"Japan has a high purchasing power and, since it's a market that demands quality and safety, the Japanese pays twice of what other countries pay," he said.

A melon in the Japanese market can cost between 4 and 8 dollars, depending on its variety and quality. "It is worth the effort," said Perez Destephen.

The country began the health validation process eight years ago and, even though the Japanese authorities have not certified Honduras officially, they have "expressed their consent after having been informed about all the phytosanitary standards and strict quality controls that the Honduran melon for export has to comply with," said the former Minister of SAG.

According to the information provided by the Japanese authorities, they are conducting a domestic consultation that will close on April 25 to find out what people think about permitting the entry of Honduran melon to their market.

"Honduras will be able to start exports once the consultation process finishes and the agreement is published in the official journal. According to sources, we'll probably have an official final approval in a month."

Oscar Mencia, representative of a melon company, said Japan was an important market because it has 120 million inhabitants.

Entering this market would allow the national melon companies to venture into other markets, such as Taiwan, South Korea, and China. Honduras is also making efforts to sell melons to Colombia and Ecuador.

Currently, Honduras is regularly making exports to Hong Kong and Singapore. The country has also made small exports to Dubai.

Honduras exports between 120 and 150 containers that are worth about 5 million dollars to these countries. Honduras distributes its product in 30 countries and generates about $113 million dollars.

Source: laprensa.hn

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