Green tea exports to Japan an emerging opportunity: RIRDC

Posted by James Ferre on 24th August 2009

Australia already exports olive oil to the Italians and soon we may have a significant new industry exporting green tea to Japan, according to a report by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC).

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke said the report identified green tea as a potential export industry to expand given several regions in Australia have an ideal climate and environment to provide high-quality green tea – including around Gosford on the NSW Central Coast.

The Gosford climate is very similar to that of a key region for producing green tea in Japan: the Shizuoka region.

Small existing crops on the Central Coast and in other regions such as in the Ovens Valley, south of Albury in Victoria, could be expanded to help meet the demands of Japanese consumers, according to RIRDC.

“The quality of our fresh produce is so good that we’re already exporting olive oil to the Italians and could now fill more Japanese cups with green tea,” Mr Burke noted.

“Australian farmers already help to feed the world and we will continue to look for new export markets.”

Japan has already embraced the high quality of Australia’s produce, showing a love for Australian seafood and beef in particular.

Green tea market

According to the RIRDC report, Japanese families consume 80,000 tonnes of green tea each year – the second highest consumption in the world behind China.

In 2005, Australia exported a mere 650 tonnes of green tea, although our green tea imports had increased threefold in the three years to 2005.