As the wider agriculture sector looks at the draft for a national biosecurity strategy, two groups have shown off the success of a program to improve vegetable and potato biosecurity.
The second phase of the two-year Ausveg Farm Biosecurity Project kicked off in July 2021 after the successful completion of the first phase.
The project is scheduled to conclude in June 2023.
The second phase of the project will see increased focus on the role and importance of urban biosecurity, with emphasis on research, development, and extension (RD&E) programs and farm biosecurity.
Plant Health Australia general manager partnerships and innovation Dr Mila Bristow said farm biosecurity was often perceived as too complex to implement or unnecessary by plant industries.
"Since future exotic pest incursions are inevitable, it is crucial to strengthen the resilience of biosecurity practises," Dr Bristow said.
According to PHA, in the first six months, the program has raised awareness of priority pest threats amongst growers and industry, increased the use of on-farm biosecurity practices, provided practical information for the improvement of on-farm biosecurity, and integrated on-farm biosecurity measures.
"A key success factor of the project is to create a better understanding of the shared responsibility to improve industry biosecurity resilience through increased levels of on-farm preparedness measures that can easily be implemented by growers to gain better protection for their crops and livelihoods," Dr Bristow said.
The project also aims to increase biosecurity risk preparedness and response mechanisms by working with industry, state and territory governments and the Australian government to strengthen biosecurity awareness and reporting and improve communication of pest issues and threats.
Despite COVID-19 restrictions, Ausveg biosecurity officers based in Melbourne and Cairns, achieved all project deliverables over the past six months.
Highlights include the delivery of six face-to-face workshops, facilitation of five online workshops (webinars), visiting 48 growers, and producing 43 communications in the form of articles, e-bulletins, weekly updates, fact sheets and videos.
The biosecurity officers are funded by industry levies highlighting the value industries place on biosecurity.
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