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Feds urges ‘going the extra mile’ with biosecurity pledge

Businesses which sign up to the Biosecurity Pledge 2019 are underlining a commitment to go the extra mile to protect our environment and economy from diseases, pests and hazardous organisms.

"It’s one thing to tick all the boxes in terms of meeting all the regulatory requirements. That should by now be standard practice," Federated Farmers biosecurity spokesperson Karen Williams says.

"The Pledge campaign, supported by Federated Farmers and 10 other farmer and grower organisations, is about businesses actively looking for ways to cut out potential risks to protect not just their own interests, but those of their peers, the wider community and our little slice of paradise at the bottom of the world.

"That might include investigating even more robust biosecurity safeguards and systems, better training of staff on what they need to do and watch out for, or putting in place extra steps when importing machinery, seed or the like," Williams says.

The costs of the Mycoplasmas bovis incursion alone have now easily topped $200 million, never mind the heartbreak to affected farming families.

Pest plants and insects such as blackgrass, pea weevil and velvetleaf have also cost us all millions of dollars.

"In my home district, the Wairarapa, farmers and home gardeners are coming up to four years of not being able to grow peas. The pea weevil incursion has seen a contracting business fold, a vegetable seed processing plant close down and the government stumping up with compensation for growers.

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"The company that imported the pea seed that allegedly contained the weevil met all import health standards at that time. But it was importing product from a part of the United States where pea weevil was prevalent.

"Growers, importers - in fact all of us - have legal obligations regarding biosecurity. The Biosecurity Business Pledge 2019 adds another layer, emphasising our moral obligation to be good citizens. It takes all of us to protect what we’ve got," Williams says.

- Search ‘www.thisisus.nz’ to find out more and sign up.

ENDS


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