Despite the current global logistics problems, Japan’s fresh fruit imports were up 1.3% in March compared with the previous year, according to Japan's Ministry of Finance. The country imported almost 135,000 tons of fresh fruit in March 2020, despite rising prices. Japanese households purchased on average 5.61kg of fruit in March 2020, up 2.5% from the previous year. Meanwhile, expenditure increased 5.3% to US$27.
Japan’s fruit imports grow despite higher prices
Westfalia Fruit sends Colombian avocados to Japan
After years of hard work, a container carrying 16 tonnes of quality Colombian Hass avocados has been exported from Westfalia Fruit Colombia (WFC) to Yokohama, Japan. This is the first time that WFC has shipped avocados to the country.
“Colombia’s avocados are in such good condition that WFC is confident shipping avocados to markets that require longer transit times – including Japan, Russia and the Middle East,” says WFC General Manager, and newly elected Vice Chairperson of the Colombian Avocado Board, Pedro Aguilar.
Agreement opens opportunities for US fruit in Japan
Japanese supermarket giant Aeon, in online grocery push
Prices of US produce drop in Japanese retailers
Following the signing of a new FTA between Japan and the US, Japanese retailers have moved promptly to slash prices of US fresh produce. The new trade deal was signed in October 2019, but only came into effect on 1 January 2020. The major beneficiary of the agreement was the fresh produce sector, with the tariffs eliminated on blueberries, cranberries, sweet corn, broccoli and prunes. Other products which will see a staggered elimination of tariffs include fresh cherries and oranges.
Japan’s cherry production continues to fall
Japan’s cherry production fell 5% in the 2018/19 campaign five to 18,100 tons, of which 16,200 tons was commercially distributed, according to FAS/Tokyo data. For the 2019/20 campaign, a further drop of 6% (to 17,000 tons) is predicted. The causes of this shrinkage are a slightly reduced acreage and the colder temperatures recorded during flowering in Yamagata prefecture, Japan’s main production area.
Decline in Japan’s peach output
Japan’s 2018/19 peach crop was down 9.5% to 111,500 tons, as the hot June and July with little rainfall during the maturation period July reduced fruit size. The 2019/20 harvest is expected to be similarly impacted by the weather, with FAS/Tokyo forecasting a fall in output of 11.7% to 100,000 tons. In Western Japan, up to 10% of peach trees were damaged by a typhoon in autumn 2018, while frost and hail caused damage in the centre of the country.
South Africa spies openings for citrus in Japan
South Africa has seen a general decline in shipments of citrus to Japan. Since 2013, citrus volumes (mainly grapefruit) shipped to the Asian country have slipped from 62,000 pallets per year to 41,000 pallets. Japan represents a key grapefruit market for South African, with trade between the two countries stretching back to the 1970s. South Africa is now looking to increase exports of other citrus varieties. South Africa has been applying for a review of the protocol and the cold treatment requirements with no response as yet from Japan.
First charter ship carrying Zespri Kiwifruit sets sail for China and Japan
The first charter vessel carrying Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit is heading to China and Japan following this season’s early start to harvest.
The Southampton Star departed from Tauranga Harbour yesterday evening carrying approximately 3,000 pallets of Bay of Plenty-grown SunGold Kiwifruit bound for Shanghai and Kobe. The vessel had earlier berthed in Gisborne where it picked up 1,600 pallets of SunGold Kiwifruit, marking the start of what promises to be another bumper crop.
Australia and Japan partner up to grow fruit
Australia and Japan have signed an agreement to work together to ensure year-round supply of fruit. At a summit in November 2018, the Australian and Japanese prime ministers agreed to devise a cooperative fruit supply programme, to take advantage of the two countries’ complementarily opposing seasons. Australian producers in the north-eastern town of Ayr will grow a local variety of melons using Japanese growing techniques to reproduce the quality and flavour that Japanese consumers prefer. The project will include a contribution from each country of farmland and technical personnel.