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Japanese market opens for some Tasmanian fruit

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PIE89/018J 12 January 1989


Tasmania's berryfruit and cucurbit industry might soon be exporting to the lucrative Japanese market following negotiations to have Tasmania declared a fruit fly free area.

Access to the Japanese market could be worth several millions of dollars a year to the Tasmanian industry.

Possible new exports to Japan include strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, melons, and cucurbits such as squash, zucchini, and scallopini.

The negotiations have been conducted with Japanese authorities by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) with support from the Tasmanian Department of Agriculture.

The outcome of the negotiations was announced jointly today by the Federal Minister for Resources, Senator Peter Cook, and the Tasmanian Minister for Primary Industry, Mr Nick Evers.

The Ministers said the next step on whether Tasmania would be granted area freedom status would involve an inspection tour of Tasmania by a Japanese plant quarantine officer.

"This will be to confirm the State's fruit fly free status,” the Ministers said.

"Until now, Japan has classified all of Australia as an endemic area for Mediterranean and Queensland fruit flies.

"This has been despite the fact that these flies have not occurred in Tasmania since 1925.

"Last year, with the approval of Japanese plant quarantine authorities, a monitoring and trapping program was set up in Tasmania as a basis for a submission to Japan seeking their consideration to accept area freedom for Tasmania.

"The recent negotiations have concentrated on having the Japanese recognise survey methods for detecting fruit flies in Tasmania, and data which confirms their non-occurence," the Ministers said.

"The Japanese have also had to satisfy themselves of the effectiveness of quarantine inspection in Tasmania of goods and materials transported from the mainland.

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"Japanese plant quarantine authorities have now responded and confirmed that the survey data and techniques are appropriate."

The Ministers said acceptance by Japan of Tasmania as a fruit fly free area would open the market for a wide range of fruits.

At present the only Australian fruit susceptible to fruit fly infestation which can be exported to Japan is oranges, for which a disinfestation treatment has been approved.

The Ministers said efforts were continuing to find a suitable treatment for apples and stonefruit, which are susceptible to codling moth infestation.

Canberra AQIS c o n t a c t : Bill Horrigan (062) 71 6460