Tasmania moving forward on multiple fronts | OPINION

Tasmania moving forward on multiple horticulture fronts | OPINION

Opinion
UPDATES: Tasmania appears to be making progress on various topics, including biosecurity, hazelnut production and Chinese medicine.

UPDATES: Tasmania appears to be making progress on various topics, including biosecurity, hazelnut production and Chinese medicine.

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Dr Mike Walker gives an update on three projects he's written about.

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BIOSECURITY, hazelnuts and traditional Chinese medicine.

I've featured these three very different topics recently. The common factor in the featuring is forecasts of future developments, so I thought it would be useful to see if they have in fact occurred.

Biosecurity (or, to be more precise, fruit fly infestations)

"FRUIT Fly Free" - try saying that quickly after a couple of glasses of superb quality Tasmanian wine.

There was great concern then that there might be an outbreak, and Biosecurity Tasmania went into overdrive.

It was obviously worth the effort, as you can see from the report in The Advocate:

"No Fruit Flies found."

"Tasmania has retained its fruit fly-free status following fears of a potential outbreak earlier this year.

"Biosecurity Tasmania launched a nine- week surveillance operation after a single male fly was discovered in East Launceston in February.

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"'This great result shows our biosecurity system is working as intended and provides re-assurance for those dependent on our vital primary industry sector,' Primary industries minister, Guy Barnett said."

That's more than can be said for the Corona virus pandemic - the outbreak in Tasmania started by an infected passenger on the cruise ship "Ruby Princess" when it docked in Burnie.

It goes to show just how vulnerable we Tasmanians are to incursions of this sort.

The Corona pandemic has restricted severely my movements (like everyone else, I have to "STAY AT HOME") so I've had to rely on Google for any background delving.

Hazelnuts

THIS was a piece on Grove 41 orchard, owned by Hugh Williams, in which I highlighted how vanishingly small hazelnut production is in Australia in the global scheme of things.

Hugh's latest development is setting up a cleaning and drying facility. I asked how much he had invested:

"The new processing facility has cost around $170,000. It now means we can harvest and have our nuts ready for sale all on farm, as well as harvesting and processing other growers' crops."

"To date, the total set-up cost of Grove 41... is approximately $476,000, excluding land cost."

That's almost half a million dollars to process another high-quality Tasmanian horticultural product.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

THIS is herbal medicine by another name and I grew up with this in that tiny village of Chalford in Gloucestershire where I was born.

It got me interested in the pharmaceutical industry, so in the first six month industrial placement of my "sandwich course" degree from Bristol College of Science and Technology, I worked as a lab technician at Burroughs Wellcome Pharmaceuticals in Dartford, Kent.

That experience put me completely off a career in pharmaceutics - the aim seemed to be to deride herbal medicine (which you could make yourself) but sort out what the active ingredients were, purify them, synthesise them and then patent them so that a huge profit could be made.

I would urge you to Google "Innovative Tasmanian agriculture meets ancient Chinese medicine" by Guy Barnett on December 11, 2019, to get the full press statement I referred to in a previous column.

We should see it all happening in Tasmania.

Whilst I'm waiting for this to occur, I'll make a point of touching base with Tasmanian Chinese Medicine which so happens is located at the Tasmanian Laser Centre building in Risby Street- I drive past it whenever I drive down to Ulverstone.

I'll keep you posted

Aa

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