AU: Help sought for melon exports to Japan

Australian Melon growers want more assistance from the government in exporting their fruit to Japan.

An agreement was reached regarding market access last year, opening the door for the Australian product to be sold in the Asian country. So far a small number of shipments have been made, but the Australian Melon Association said growers have been unsuccessful in obtaining federal funding to expand their opportunities.

"It's not a matter of opening up a market and saying here it is," Industry Development Manager Dianne Fullelove said. "Growers need to understand what that market is and what the supply chain is like. At the moment we are struggling with applications to the Federal Government. We were just recently knocked back for funding by the Free Trade Agreement trading provider grants. So for our industry it's about how we can give growers more knowledge." 

But the AMA says demand for Australian melons in Japan is huge. A grower recently took part in a fresh food trade mission to the Asian country to meet with representatives from the importing and retail sector, and received overwhelming feedback on Australian melons.

"They like the fruit to be very sweet," Ms Fullelove said. "So we are conscious of what varieties that we send, so they are super sweet. From what I can understand, they like to deal with Australians. They find us good to work with, I think they like the image of our growing systems - the clean-green. They do already get melons from other countries, but they are quite keen to take them on from Australia."

Domestically production is starting to pick back up as the southern harvest finishes and Queensland and Northern Territory start their seasons. 

"The price has been quite decent at the moment which is good for growers, but there is plenty of supply as well," Ms Fullelove said. "It's quite a normal season at the moment. With the watermelons, the new product coming on the markets from the north will be good quality, so that's something to look forward to."

For more information
Dianne Fullelove
Australian Melon Association inc.
Phone: +61413101646

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