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New agreement to protect fresh tomato industry

Biosecurity New Zealand and Tomatoes New Zealand have reached an agreement on the pathway forward to better prepare for future biosecurity responses.

Both parties signed a Sector Readiness Operational Agreement today (21 December).

“The agreement demonstrates both organisations’ commitment to strengthen readiness for incursions of specific pests and pathogens,” says Andrew Spelman, Biosecurity NZ’s Acting Director, Biosecurity Readiness & Response Services.

“This agreement solidifies the organisations’ existing GIA (Government Industry Agreement) partnership that has developed over the past few years.”

Under the agreement, Biosecurity NZ and TomatoesNZ will jointly agree and fund readiness activities to improve preparedness for incursions of pests and pathogens that are considered a major concern to the fresh tomato industry.

Biosecurity NZ and TomatoesNZ joined the GIA in 2014 and 2016 respectively.

“We’re all responsible for protecting Aotearoa from pests and pathogens, and this agreement under the GIA aligns with the wider Ko Tātou This Is Us Biosecurity 2025 programme to improve NZ’s biosecurity system,” says Mr Spelman.

Chair of TomatoesNZ Barry O’Neil says: “This is an important development in the protection of the fresh tomato industry from biosecurity threats. Our work on readiness will be focused on detecting pests and pathogens rapidly so we will have a high chance of eradication.”

The agreement will initially focus on preparing for incursions of tomato leafminer (Tuta absoluta) and the tomato strain of pepino mosaic virus. This pest and pathogen have been identified as high priority by TomatoesNZ and Biosecurity NZ. More pests and pathogens will be added over time.

Tomato leafminer and pepino mosaic virus are not currently present in New Zealand.

ends

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