BANANA growers farming with Panama disease tropical race 4 (Panama TR4) and who sell fruit to NSW are benefiting from a new interstate fruit certification agreement.
Panama TR4 program leader Rhiannon Evans said Biosecurity Queensland had reached an agreement with the NSW DPI to allow accredited businesses to certify their own fruit consignments.
“This will give growers greater autonomy and flexibility in responding to market access opportunities and also offer significant cost savings through reduced government inspection fees when meeting NSW’s quarantine entry conditions,” Ms Evans said.
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“Biosecurity officers will visit farms operating under the new agreement to audit the fruit inspection process and ensure biosecurity requirements are being met.”
Ms Evans said the department had worked closely with growers and the Australian Banana Growers’ Council to identify any areas where growers could be empowered, without putting the wider industry at risk.
ABGC chair Stephen Lowe said anything that could simplify the process of getting produce to market - and make it more cost effective - was great news.
“Consumers can rest assured that banana growers take pride in supplying produce that meets strict food safety and biosecurity standards, so these certification responsibilities will not be taken lightly,” Mr Lowe said.
The new Interstate Certification Assurance Accreditation Operational Procedure ‘Inspection of bananas for freedom of soil and plant material’ was developed by Biosecurity Queensland in partnership with Biosecurity Solutions Australia.