Australia is a net melon exporter. For the year ending June 2019 Australia exported 21,455 tonnes of fresh melons as profiled in the graph below, where imports are counted as negative tonnes. (Source: Australian Horticulture Statistics Handbook – Fruit – 2019. https://www.horticulture.com.au/globalassets/hort-innovation/resource-assets/ha18002-australian-horticulture-statistics-handbook-fruit-2019-updated-aug-2020.pdf).
The Australian melon industry has an Export Strategy and Plan that aims to provide industry and government agencies with a clear, prioritised and commercially focussed export market access plan. The Plan provides the industry with an in-depth profile of priority markets for Australian melon exports, and provides technical information to facilitate the industry’s future decision making and prioritisation for market access.
This plan identified five major export markets for further development for Australian melons. One of these markets was Japan. In 2016, Australia’s Free Trade Agreement with Japan eliminated Japan’s 6% import tariff on Australian watermelons and reduced the tariff on other melons to 3% (scheduled to decline to zero by April 1, 2019). This opens up a key growth market for Australian rockmelon, watermelon, and honeydew melon growers.
With these promising developments, the Australian melon industry commissioned a project so that interested Australian melon growers are aware of how to take advantage of the export potential and that they understand the Japanese market access requirements. The project had the objectives of:
- Evaluate the export opportunities of melons by type in Japan
- Understand the specific local market dynamics
- Identify the potential barriers for melon exports and how to overcome challenges
- Understand consumer attitudes and behaviours toward the consumption of melons
The full project report can be accessed via this link: Melons in Japan.