The detection of Queensland fruit fly in Tasmania in recent weeks underscores the need for a national strategy to tackle this insidious pest.
The presence of fruit fly is a risk to NSW fruit growers. It also places at risk our $1.4 billion horticulture industry and its ability to trade with other markets.
We know that China, for example, demands proof that markets, and produce, are fruit fly-free before considering importing that produce.
Queensland fruit fly is attracted to soft fruits such as oranges, lemons, apples, cherries and berries. These fruits are grown extensively in NSW – eradicating fruit fly is essential to growing the market for our produce on international markets.
As part of our $45 million biosecurity budget request, NSW Farmers is calling for $1.3 million to be spent by the NSW Government to develop a cross-jurisdictional approach to managing fruit fly.
We have also called for $3.2 million for a community fruit fly trapping program in Griffith.
Fruit fly doesn’t respect lines on a map, so developing a nation-wide plan to tackle this pest is essential if we are to eradicate it. We have seen governments commit funds to eradicate Red Imported Fire Ants – now is the time to tackle a long-established pest which equally threatens our agricultural industries.
With fruit fly now in Tasmania, the time is now right to tackle this pest head-on.
Our community-based trapping proposal builds on a similar scheme in Victoria, and will encourage local residents to place sticky traps in their garden to attract and catch these flying nuisances. The program involves education and replacement traps. With Griffith at the heart of a vast fruit-growing region, we believe this trial can be assess the potential to roll out the scheme across other fruit growing regions.
- NSW Farmers CEO Matt Brand