Producing, Picking & Packing a $70 million Territory Industry

Melons Australia

Nicole Manison
Minister for Agribusiness and Aquaculture

31 March 2022

The Territory’s melon industry contributes to more than 20 percent of Australia’s production and around 75,000 tonnes of melons are due to be picked locally in the coming months.

Territory Melon growers started planting seedlings last month, with the harvest season running from the start of the dry season until October.

Our local sweet melon industry includes rockmelon, watermelon and honey dew melons with a number of farms spread between the Big Rivers region through to Central Australia.

The Northern Territory Government’s efforts to support the melon industry are also bearing fruit, with overseas workers arriving in the regions ahead of harvest season.

Around 650 workers are involved in picking, packing, sorting and logistics each harvest, and the additional workers will help support the Territory’s skilled horticultural workforce.

Just under 20 workers have arrived from Timor Leste this month, with around 40 more due to touch down in April under the Australian Government’s Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme.

The Territory Government has also worked to ensure the inclusion of 24 new occupations in the Northern Territory Designated Area Migration Agreement (NT DAMA), which includes lower skilled workers for the agriculture and aquaculture sector.

To find out more about the sweet melon industry in the Territory, head to: https://nt.gov.au/industry/agriculture/food-crops-plants-and-quarantine/fruit-crops/sweet-melons

Quotes from Minister for Agribusiness and Aquaculture, Nicole Manison

“Our melons are the best in the country and create hundreds of jobs, particularly around the Katherine and Tennant Creek regions.”

“The Territory’s melon industry is worth around $70 million to the local economy, with a national farm gate value of more than $150 million in 2019-20.”

“The Territory Government has been supporting the sector to recover from the pandemic by sourcing extra workers and ensuring industry-guided research is available to growers.”

“Territory grown melons supply local markets, as well as the major supermarket chains, especially rockmelons and watermelons.”

Quotes from NT Farmers, Paul Burke

“Territory melon growers play an important role in the Australian melon industry, we grow roughly 20% of Australia’s total production. Our farmers supply melons to Australian consumers, during a prime market window, when production around the rest of Australia is dormant due to winter.

“The local industry has been growing with new farms emerging and significant investments from farmers into their infrastructure. At harvest time, the industry provides hundreds of jobs in the Territory and it generates millions for the economy.

“This melon season, support local farmers and enjoy delicious Territory melons!”

Quotes from Johnathon Davey, Melons Australia

“The Australian melon industry in the Northern Territory is a significant component of the horticulture industry.”

“The conditions for growing melons in the Northern Territory are extremely attractive, however workforce remains a strain on continued growth. However one great thing about melons in Australia is that 100% of melons consumed in Australia, are grown in Australia. Every melon Australians purchase is supporting Aussie melon farmers in continuing to do the great work they do.”

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