LETTER: Re-establishing our melon market a priority

The listeria outbreak on a single melon farm in February 2018, was a tragedy which resulted in six deaths in Australia.

The human cost was huge for those who ate those melons and for the families and friends of those who died.

The outbreak gutted the industry hurting farmers thousands of kilometres from the source.

Industry estimates it cost about $60-million because growers couldn’t sell their fruit and had to leave it on the vine to rot.

Since then the Australian Melon Association and Horticulture Innovation Australia have been working hard to significantly improve on-farm food safety practices.

Before this outbreak, Australian rockmelons were sought-after internationally and we are going to help them regain that status.

The Federal Government is providing a grant of $100,200 to help the melon industry get back on its feet.

 Through this funding we are working with the Australian Melons Association (AMA) to re-establish key markets such as Singapore, New Zealand, Japan and Malaysia.

This grant will help the melon industry to get boots on the ground overseas with trade visits by teams of expert growers, exporters and food safety scientists.

I congratulate the AMA for being proactive in working for rockmelon growers to get their market share back.

David Littleproud, 

Minister for Agriculture

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