TOKYO, Feb. 26 – The Gifu Prefectural Government and agricultural cooperatives in Gifu began shipping strawberries grown in the prefecture to Australia on Feb. 25, becoming the first in Japan to export strawberries to the country.
Australia decided last year to allow Japan to ship fresh strawberries to the nation and the prefecture has completed all the necessary procedures for exporting, including registrations of facilities for production, fruit selection and packaging.
A ceremony was held on the day in the city of Gifu to export 20 kilograms of Hanakagari brand and 5 kg of Minomusume brand strawberries.
In August last year, Australia lifted a ban on imports of Japan-grown strawberries and the prefecture has been working to meet the export requirements by applying to register the facilities and conducting surveys for fruit flies using traps.
Gifu is the only prefecture which met the export requirements in fiscal 2020 and got their production and packaging facilities registered, according to Gifu Prefecture.
The prefecture hopes to make this trial shipment an opportunity to expand exports in the next season.
“This is the first time for Japan” to export strawberries to Australia, Gifu Governor Hajime Furuta said at the shipping ceremony. “Gifu-grown strawberries, which are highly evaluated abroad, will be very appealing (to Australian consumers) as a Gifu brand just as Hida beef is.”
“We hope to increase the number of (registered) production facilities in the future by soliciting other producers in the prefecture,” one of the strawberry producers said. “We will make efforts to boost exports.”