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Do Whatever It Takes With Fruit Fly, Farmers Urge

Media Release


11 May 2012

Do Whatever It Takes With Fruit Fly, Farmers Urge

Federated Farmers will back the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in whatever it must do to eliminate the threat of Queensland fruit fly (Bactrocera tryoni).

“While this is a horticultural pest, we all pull together at times like this,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Vice-President and biosecurity spokesperson.

“Right now the MPI will be laying down pheromone traps as it starts an intensive ground based operation. We must find out if there is an established breeding population or whether this is a rogue fruit fly.

“The next few weeks will be absolutely critical.

“Federated Farmers is involved in industry meetings and we pledge our full support for whatever must be done.

“If action is needed we need to be quick and decisive about it. This is truly a serious threat to horticulture and we’ve simply got too much to lose.

“Once we get on top of this incursion, there needs to a closer look at passenger entry at the border. The risk is less from cargo and more from the millions who enter New Zealand each year.

“Australia has been seen as a ‘safe’ country, but from a biosecurity perspective it is not. We must ensure we have working technology in place before we streamline passenger entry.

“While the Queensland fruit fly is one of the world’s worst insect pests, honey from Australia could accidentally introduce bee diseases like European Foulbrood or the Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus. Conversely, Australia does not want Varroa which is endemic here.

“That’s for later, right now, Federated Farmers supports whatever that must be done to eliminate Queensland fruit fly,” Dr Rolleston concluded.


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