A TEMPORARY import suspension implemented by New Zealand on Australian grown rockmelons and honeydew melons has been cancelled.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, and federal member for Maranoa, David Littleproud, said quick work following New Zealand concerns about the dimethoate treatment applied to Australian produce had helped to safeguard the future of the $5 million trade
“I am pleased that the melon industry, treatment providers, along with my department and New Zealand authorities, have resolved any issues so that our growers can continue to provide consumers across the ditch with great tasting melons,” Mr Joyce said.
“Just as we expect other countries to respect our biosecurity conditions, so must we respect theirs when we seek to export our agricultural products.
“It’s important to remember that, although New Zealand put a temporary suspension on imports of rockmelons and honeydew melons from Australia treated with dimethoate, the trade in melons to New Zealand was able to continue from areas free of fruit fly.
“That said, if this issue had not been resolved before the main melon export season commences in September it could have had a greater impact on growers’ ability to export and in turn, hurt their profits.”
According to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicine Authority dimethoate is organophosphorus insecticide and acaricide used in agriculture and the home garden to control insects and mites.
Mr Littleproud said Queensland growers generated about $4.6m of the trade with New Zealand.
“Today, I’m pleased to see that our melon producers, and those across the country, can choose from a range of options if exporting to New Zealand, especially for those producing outside a pest free area,” Mr Littleproud said.
The suspension had been in place since April.
Australian Melon Association industry development manager, Dianne Fullelove, said the industry was pleased the pathway has been reviewed and is once again available.
“The AMA worked closely with the Department of Agriculture during the process and we are very appreciative of their efforts on behalf of the melon industry,” Ms Fullelove said.