AFPA commits to furthering existing collaboration between Australian and Japanese fresh produce industries  

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A delegation of Australia’s major fruit and vegetable producers travelled to Japan in early March

A delegation of Australia’s major fruit and vegetable producers travelled to Japan in early March to discuss emerging market opportunities and further enhance the collaboration between each nation’s fresh produce industries. 

”Our delegation was warmly received and had many constructive discussions with our Japanese counterparts,” said Australian Fresh Produce Alliance (AFPA) chief executive, Claire McClelland. 

The visit was built on a successful trip hosted in December 2022, the first Japan-Australia Fresh Produce Networking Event.  

“Australia’s relationship with Japan is one of our nation’s closest and most mature partnerships in Asia, if not the world,” McClelland said.  

“We have great respect for each other’s expertise and knowledge, and we want to keep building on our engagement to support the best outcomes for Australian and Japanese farmers.” 

Over the two days in market, the delegation visited Japanese production sites accompanied by local industry representatives, attended a lunch with a range of Japanese importers and met with Australia’s ambassador to Japan.  

“We were pleased to have the support of the Australian government while in country, and to have the minister for agriculture, Murray Watt, and assistant minister for trade, Tim Ayres, dial in for a round-table on trade and market access at the Australian Embassy in Tokyo,” McClelland shared.  

“We are encouraged by the continued dialogue and engagement between our governments and support their effort to unlock the full potential of our bilateral trade relationship.” 

Japan is currently one of the largest markets for Australian fresh produce with table grapes, citrus, avocado, cherry and melon exports from Australia valued at AUD$134m.  “Our industry sees a real opportunity to grow two-way trade with Japan. We know Australian produce has a range of benefits in the Japanese market, including our relatively close proximity, and the ability to supply a range of produce counter-seasonally to domestic Japanese production,” McClelland said.  

Despite industry’s ambition to grow overseas trade, McClelland noted government efforts and public conversation around better supporting growers is currently fixated on domestic competition issues and inquiries. She argued supporting improved technical market access and trade opportunities could also improve domestic competition.  

“We know that when strong export markets are made available to growers, it improves their negotiating power domestically, stabilises the price of produce for consumers and supports a more sustainable fresh produce industry,” McClelland said.  

Looking ahead, the AFPA remains committed to building a stronger connection with its Japanese counterparts.  

“[We have] plans to explore further avenues for collaboration and potential future visits to build on the strong foundation established during this journey and previous engagements,” McClelland said.