Aussie grapefruits turning Japanese

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 22nd June 2010

Japan has announced that it will give complete market access to Australian grapefruit, where previously it only accepted fruit from fruit-fly-free areas.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke said the decision is good news for citrus producers across the nation.

“The decision by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries allows new access for producers from all over Australia to export to the lucrative Japanese market,” Burke said.

“The result is important for producers of the sweeter red-fleshed grapefruit varieties from Australia’s north who have placed considerable investment in developing a product for the Japanese market.”

The decision was made after Australian research gave Japan the necessary assurance that the risk of fruit flies will be adequately managed through cold disinfestation treatment and appropriate biosecurity measures.

Citrus Australia Ltd’s Chief Executive Officer Judith Damiani said Australian citrus producers are keen to capitalise on the new market opportunities.

“Export orders are already being placed for the new season commencing March 2011. The first year of trade under the new conditions will see an estimated 1,500 tonnes of grapefruit exported to Japan valued at approximately $1.5 million,” Ms Damiani said.

“The longer-term outlook looks even more promising. The demand in Japan over the next five years is anticipated to be around 4,000 tonnes and valued at $4.8 million annually.”

The next horticultural market access priority to Japan will be table grapes.