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Govt Gets Clear Message on Varroa PMS

South Island Farmers clear message to Government on Varroa PMS

Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) South Island Provincial Presidents have a clear message for Government - that they should fund the Varroa Pest Management Strategy (PMS).

In a fax poll yesterday the Federation's South Island Provincial Presidents and the South Island High Country Committee Chair unanimously supported the position that Government should fund the Varroa PMS.

"Pastoral farmers are very quickly realising the devastating implications of Varroa reaching the South Island," says Tony Scott, North Canterbury Chairman of the NZ Bee Industry Group.

"The bee industry is struggling to survive with Varroa, but the long term implications for South Island farmers in terms of lost productivity are potentially catastrophic.

"MAF estimates that if Varroa spreads to the South Island it would have an impact of $314 million over 35 years, with 90% of that cost falling on the pastoral sector due to a dramatic reduction in clover pollination.

"The fact Government are willing to pick up the tab should Varroa reach the South Island is not good enough. Given estimates that the cost of responding to a Varroa incursion in the South Island would be $6 million, surely it would be a better use of taxpayer's money to invest $750,000 in a PMS to ensure that Varroa does not reach the South Island in the first place."

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