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From Gingin to Japan

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When the first direct All Nippon Airways (ANA) flight departed Perth airport on 1 September, it had onboard some very special cargo – and I’m not talking about Tourism Minister Paul Papalia or Australian Ambassador to Japan Richard Court – although they were both in attendance!
More interestingly for our agricultural region, the underbelly of the Boeing 787 was filled with Western Australian produce – including Avocados direct from the orchard of Gingin Grower Gary Inkster.
Jennie Franceschi of Karri Country Produce said she and her team had been working on the export program since December last year, when they sent a sample of WA’s best avocados as a gesture of goodwill to Japanese distributors.
“Now that we’ve had the initial shipment, we will do some air then some sea shipments, then once that happens we will slowly build it up,” she explained.
With avocado production predicted to more than double in the next six years, Jennie says developing this market will be crucial for the future of the industry.
“It’s important to have more avenues as more and more fruit comes on,” she said. “Japan is a sophisticated market, and will take larger fruit whereas Singapore and Malaysia only want the smaller fruit.”
With a fair bit of paperwork involved to tick all the boxes required for the new protocol, not many growers took up the opportunity.
”Gary was the first grower to jump at the chance to register his orchard and he deserves to be recognised,” said Jennie,” It was very good of him. His commitment is so important for the industry. We need growers to commit and be consistant if we want to develop this market for the future,” she said.
The process to register an orchard costs about $500, and growers are required to keep a spray diary and monitor their picking and packing processes, but it’s likely to pay dividends in the coming years as oversupply is a surity.
“We’re urging growers to get onboard with the new protocol and get registered,” says Jennie.
“A sharp peak is anticipated in 2021 when the current crop of young trees, which represent about two thirds of the trees in the ground, start to mature. When that fruit hits the market, we want growers to be ready for export!”
With 10 years experience in fruit export to Asia, Jennie is confident the new market is a fantastic opportunity for WA growers.
“Our green, clean image makes us attractive to Asia, we are ideally situated and our fruit tastes great!” 
she said.