Traceable rockmelons on a roll

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, the Hon. David Littleproud MP

Member for Mallee, Victoria and Chair of Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories, Dr Anne Webster MP

  • Australian rockmelons from Red Cliffs, Victoria, are now being exported to Canada and the United Kingdom using innovative traceability technology.
  • FreshChain Systems, which piloted a block-chain based system, was awarded a grant in the Traceability Grants Program in 2020.
  • Modern, accurate and timely traceability systems provide assurances to trading partners and consumers about the safety and quality of our produce.
  • FreshChain Systems has successfully piloted innovative blockchain technology exporting end to end traceable whole rockmelons from the Sunraysia region supported by the Australian Government Traceability Grants Program.

    Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said the digitised tracing of ‘Honey Kiss’ and ‘Sugar Kiss’ varieties from farm to major export markets in the United Kingdom and Canada was innovation in action.

    “Exporting fruit that is traceable through the supply chain ensures food safety, boosts biosecurity and enhances the confidence of our trading partners and consumers,” Minister Littleproud said.

    “I’m very excited about the potential applications of the technology used in this successful trial in strengthening traceability in horticultural supply chains.

    “The blockchain-enabled traceability systems along with proper labelling and QR codes consumers can scan is a win-win for all supply chain participants.

    “Our clean green reputation makes Australian produce valued overseas and we have to protect that.”

    Member for Mallee, Dr Anne Webster, a member of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources, said these exports demonstrate the benefits of blockchain enabled technology, with the products labelled with a QR code that consumers can scan to find out traceability details.

    “It’s a shining example of the next generation of innovation of Australian producers, as they build on the strong track record of farmers taking advantage of market opportunities and finding ways to deliver high quality new products.

    Greg Calvert of FreshChain said, “This is our first pilot of exporting rockmelon varieties with end-to-end traceability to Canada and the United Kingdom. It proves the power of traceability and enhances our export offering.”

    “We have recently sent consignments to Canada, and now to the United Kingdom, with markets in Singapore and Hong Kong likely to follow soon.”

    Brad Dawson of Dawson Melon Co said “This is about sharing not just our safe, delicious and traceable produce but also our farming story, and connecting with consumers in a new way.

    “We must, as a fresh food community look beyond our individual operations and contribute to future proofing the entire horticultural industry and I believe that delivering blockchain end to end traceability is a significant step in the right direction.

    “It’s amazing to think that we now have innovative end to end traceability of melons from Red Cliffs along the supply chain to London and Toronto.”

    For more details, see the Traceability Grants Program website.

    Fast facts:

    • FreshChain Systems was one of 16 projects to share in $4 million funding under the first round of the Australian Government’s Traceability Grants Program.
    • The program also aims to provide an advantage for our exporters in overseas markets and to increase opportunities to export Australian commodities.
    • Running until June 2023, the program is part of the Australian Government’s Modernising Agricultural Trade agenda to support the target of a $100 billion agricultural sector by 2030.
    • Australian melon growers produce approximately 217,000 tonnes of melons annually across an area of around 8,500 hectares.
    • The Mildura region is ideally suited to melon growing, with its long hot summers, and produces 11 per cent of Australia’s total melon production.
    • In 2018-19, the gross value of agricultural production in the North West region of Victoria was $4.2 billion, which was 26 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in Victoria ($15.9 billion).
    • For the year ending June 2019 Australia produced 291,089 tonnes of fresh melons, valued at $181 million

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