Members of the National Watermelon Promotion Board met with Australian watermelon growers interested in creating their own promotion board.
About ten growers and Diane Fullelove, industry development manager of the Australian Melon Association Inc., met with promotion board staff at the board’s Orlando office Feb. 25, said Mark Arney, the board’s executive director.
Many Australian growers want to form a promotion board to help strengthen watermelon markets in their country, Arney said. In a vote several years ago, growers narrowly defeated a plan to form a board. Many hope to have another vote.
“It’s primarily because of price,” Arney said. “They’ve had some pretty lean years. They see this as a way to create demand and help support the industry.”
Arney said he would welcome another promotion board. To his knowledge, the U.S. board is the only one in the world.
“It’s a win-win — we’re not looking to compete with each other,” he said.
Only about 300 growers produce watermelons in Australia, and almost all fruit is consumed domestically, Arney said. If growers export, it’s to countries near Australia.
Arney said the U.S. board and an Australian board, were one created, could potentially share technical expertise and research.
The Feb. 25 meeting at the board’s office lasted about three hours. Australian growers were in the U.S. for the National Watermelon Association’s annual convention in Savannah, Ga.