New trade opportunities for melon and pumpkin growers

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Melon and pumpkin producers in the Hinkler region will benefit from new market access to Japan which will deliver new opportunities and better returns to growers.

The Hinkler region is Australia’s largest producer of heavy vegetables and the Bundaberg-Burnett region produces around 25% of Queensland’s rockmelons and more than 4500 tonnes of pumpkins per year.

Member for Hinkler and Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Keith Pitt said the trade deal opens a key growth market for Australian rockmelon, watermelon and honeydew melon growers.

“Through the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA), the Coalition Government has already achieved elimination of the 3% tariff on pumpkins and six per cent tariff on watermelons into Japan.

“The 6% tariff on melons into Japan is set to follow, falling to zero on 1 April 2019,” Mr Pitt said.

“Those opportunities only exist on paper without agreement on the technical market access requirements for exports – the biosecurity processes that allow us to actually ship this produce to Japan – and now that agreement has been reached.

“And it means this trade can begin immediately, which means our local growers will benefit straight away.”

Mr Pitt said the Japan FTA provides multiple trade and export opportunities for producers and businesses in the Hinkler region.

With nearly 380 rockmelon, watermelon and honeydew melon growers and more than 800 pumpkin growers across the nation, Australia grows more than 260,000 tonnes of melons and over 110,000 tonnes of pumpkins each year.