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Japan opens market to Australian grapefruit

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Japan has announced complete market access for Australian grapefruit as a result of advancements in fruit fly management. Japan is fearful of the accidental importation of fruit flies carried in Australian grapefruits, traditionally restricting Australia’s grapefruit exports to include only those sourced from fruit fly pest free areas. However, recent fruit fly research has allowed Australian researchers to give Japan the necessary assurance that the risk of fruit flies will be adequately managed through cold disinfestation treatment and appropriate biosecurity measures. The decision is good news for citrus producers across the nation, says Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke: "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. 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." Burke’s statements are seconded by Citrus Australia Ltd chief executive Judith Damiani who says that Australian citrus producers can look forward to expansion as a result of the many 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 tons of grapefruit exported to Japan valued at approximately $1.5 million," Damiani says. "The longer-term outlook looks even more promising. The demand in Japan over the next five years is anticipated to be around 4,000 tons and valued at $4.8 million annually." Australia’s next horticultural market access priority to Japan is table grapes.

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