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Wrong Varroa Decision Costly For New Zealand

16 July 2000


"The Grains Council of Federated Farmers is frustrated at the Government's lack of commitment to the New Zealand beekeeping industry," according to Chairman Neil Barton.

"We have a window of opportunity to go all out and eradicate the Varroa mite, and in the event that we don't finally succeed, who knows what other options might open up in two or three years."

"If the Government is not prepared to eradicate pests such as Varroa that arrive from overseas, then it is of paramount importance that the effectiveness of our border control is increased."

"Varroa, once established, will have grave implications for many other industries," Mr. Barton said.

In the arable industry alone, there is approximately 24,000 hectares of crops ranging from white clover to specialist vegetable seed crops. These contribute approximately $43m every year to the New Zealand economy.

"Beekeeping profitability will fall due extra labour and cost of chemical controls, leading to higher crop pollination costs - if bees are even available, and reduced profitability for arable farming."

"The reduced export revenue from the beekeeping, arable, and other industries affected, will have a serious impact. The total cost of eradicating the pest is estimated to be $56 million. This is only about as much as it would cost to control the mite for just three years. Eradication is the cheapest long-term option."

"History will soon prove that the Government should have displayed more commitment to the beekeeping industry. We believe their decision is illogical."

ENDS For further information: Neil Barton 021-441-125 Kevin Geddes 03-307-8148

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