A LAKELAND melon grower is eyeing off a lucrative Japanese market as part of expansion plans.
Daintree Fresh will soon be picking and packing 15,000 trays of fresh produce weekly, ready to be exported to Japan.
Director of Daintree Fresh, Shaun Jackson says Lakeland’s location and climate are perfect for growing the melons during the winter season.
“We don’t get the severe frosts or low temperatures that a majority of Queensland has throughout winter,” Mr Jackson said.
“Our stable and dry climate from April to November makes it the ideal weather for growing cucurbit varieties.
“Because of this, there is an opportunity for us to supply consistent quantities of produce from June through to December.”
Daintree Fresh was recently a recipient of a Rural Economic Development grant.
Mr Jackson said the grant would be used to help source and install essential packing infrastructure to effectively package and store their fresh produce.
“The packing equipment will package 400 trays per hour to meet our 15,000 trays per week quota,” he said.
“A cooling facility will be installed to enhance the shelf life of our produce to ensure it reaches the end market while retaining its quality.”
Mr Jackson said that Daintree Fresh would employ 40 people over the next 12 months to assist with the current operations and to cater the increased capacity the expansion of their business will bring.
“Exporting specialty melons to Japanese markets is an exciting opportunity to develop long-term prospects, for the overseas export markets, whilst creating business and economic growth,” he said.
A state government spokesperson said the prospect for Daintree Fresh to export their produce to Japanese markets opened an opportunity for local economic and employment growth.
“The demand for specialty melons in Japan means there is a prime opportunity to help boost the economic and employment growth in the Cook Shire,” they said.
“This project will allow Daintree Fresh to implement the required infrastructure to help them efficiently grow, harvest and package their produce ready for export.”