Biosecurity Fact Sheet Dragon fruit from Indonesia

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, December 2017

This fact sheet explains the rationale for the commencement of a review of biosecurity import requirements for fresh dragon fruit from Indonesia and details the process for this risk analysis.


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Key points

  • The department is conducting a review of biosecurity import requirements for fresh dragon fruit from Indonesia.
  • A draft report is being prepared for stakeholder consultation and is expected to be released in January 2018.
  • This risk analysis is based on the policy for dragon fruit from Vietnam which was finalised in 2017. With there being no new pests for Indonesia, the same measures will be proposed as for Vietnam.
  • This risk analysis is funded through the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper to strengthen biosecurity surveillance and analysis.

Australian-Indonesia trade

Indonesia is Australia’s fourth largest market for agriculture, fisheries and forestry products (after China, Japan and the United States of America). In 2016-17, Australia exported $3.14 billion worth of these products to Indonesia, while importing products valued at $812 million.

In 2016-17, the key agricultural exports from Australia to Indonesia were wheat, worth $1,263 million, and live cattle, worth $619.8 million. Horticultural exports to Indonesia were valued at $104 million, with the top export being table grapes valued at $57 million.

In 2016-17, the key agricultural imports from Indonesia were sawnwood and plywood worth $216.1 million, paper and paper products worth $117.1 million and cocoa worth $58.9 million. The top horticultural import was cashew nuts worth $5.99 million.

Rationale for the review

The department received a formal market access request for fresh dragon fruit from Indonesia, which is their highest priority new horticultural market access.

As a World Trade Organization member, Australia is required to assess market access proposals and develop the least trade restrictive and scientifically justified import conditions. The same scientific principles are used by our trading partners when assessing Australian commodities.

Australia currently permits imports of fresh dragon fruit from Vietnam, provided they meet Australia’s biosecurity requirements.

A preliminary assessment of the pests associated with fresh dragon fruit from Indonesia has identified that the potential pests of quarantine concern (fruit flies and mealybugs) are the same, or of the same pest groups, as those pests associated with fresh dragon fruit from Vietnam. Given there are no new pest groups for Indonesian dragon fruit and the review of biosecurity import requirements for the importation of fresh dragon fruit from Vietnam was recently finalised on 12 January 2017, this report will be based on the policy for dragon fruit from Vietnam and the measures proposed will be the same as those for Vietnam.

Based on this outcome, this risk analysis is being conducted as a review of biosecurity import requirements (a non-regulated risk analysis), which is consistent with the Biosecurity Import Risk Analysis Guidelines 2016.

Dragon fruit production in Indonesia

Dragon fruit is produced throughout the year in Indonesia; however, the peak season is November to March. The main species grown are the red skinned with red flesh Hylocereus monacanthus and red skinned with purple flesh Hylocereus costaricensis species. Production mainly occurs on the islands of Bali, Borneo, Java, Sulawesi and Sumatra.

Dragon fruit production in Australia

In Australia, fresh dragon fruit are produced in the Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia and New South Wales, with the Northern Territory being the largest producer. While dragon fruit can be produced all year-round, the main production period occurs from September to March/April.
The Australian dragon fruit industry is currently small and focussed on domestic fresh fruit supply. In 2012, the Australian dragon fruit industry was worth around $2.25 million, with the total production of 750 tonnes of fresh dragon fruit.
The types of fresh dragon fruit grown in Australia include red skinned with white flesh Hylocereus undatus, red skinned with red flesh Hylocereus monacanthus, hybrids of the two, as well as the yellow skin with white flesh species Hylocereus megalanthus.

Process for a risk analysis

The objective of undertaking a risk analysis is to ensure that any fresh products imported into Australia are free from unwanted pests and diseases. The department initially identifies pests and diseases associated with fruit or vegetable production and export in the source country that are not present in Australia.

The assessment includes analysis of the potential pests of quarantine concern and recommends risk management measures if required. If there are no available risk management measures to effectively manage particular biosecurity risks trade is not permitted until suitable measures are identified.

The department seeks to verify commercial production, packing, and export practices in the source country before determining any phytosanitary measures to be applied to mitigate any potential risks that do not achieve Australia’s appropriate level of protection.

If the final risk analysis recommends importation there are a number of steps required before imports can commence as shown in the diagram below. Any importation of fresh dragon fruit would be a commercial decision between an importer in Australia and an exporter in Indonesia who can meet the import conditions.

How stakeholders can contribute

The department invites relevant scientific information to this risk analysis from stakeholders at any time.

Stakeholders will be invited to comment on the draft report during the 60 calendar day consultation period. The final report will then be published after consideration of stakeholder comments and will complete the scientific risk analysis process.

Stakeholders interested in receiving further updates are invited to subscribe to our stakeholder register via the department’s website at Register as a Stakeholder.

Image showing the import risk assessment process​​​​
Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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