Australia: North Queensland melons making their way to Asia

High-value melons grown in North Queensland using innovative new techniques could soon be making their way onto supermarket shelves across Asia.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said his department was working with growers and the Port of Townsville to explore how the high-quality fruit can be successfully grown and exported as part of the Growing Queensland’s Food Exports pilot program.

“Queensland is the food bowl of Australia and I want to see more of our wonderful produce making its way onto dinner plates all around the world,” Mr. Furner said.

“As part of this project, we’ve been talking to retailers in Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong about what consumers are looking for in premium fruit such as melons.

“My department is now developing innovative protected cropping systems for the tropics and sub-tropics so that farmers are able to produce the high-quality fruit that Asian customers are looking for.”

Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said the project is also looking at how these quality melons could be exported from North Queensland.

“In June, specialty melons grown under protective cropping systems in a trial managed by DAF were stored in a refrigerated shipping container at the Townsville port to simulate a potential sea voyage to Asia,” Mr. Stewart said.

“At the moment North Queensland growers send their produce south for export which adds to supply chain costs and delivery times.

“I’m happy to say the results from the trial are very promising and I’m sure we’ll see top quality fruit grown in North Queensland and shipped from Townsville right into the heart of Asia soon.”

Mr. Furner said the Growing Queensland’s Food Exports pilot program has invested $1.3 million in 15 agri-food projects.

“It’s designed to boost Queensland’s regional economies by helping local food producers build their export capability,” he said.

“And by building export capability, we’re delivering jobs and economic growth in regional areas.

“This is another sign of how the Palaszczuk Government is investing in innovation so our farmers can be the best in the world.”

Source: Queensland Government

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