IT'S funding may have been in question over the past few years but the Goulburn Murray Valley Fruit Fly Area Wide Management program has proven its credentials, winning this year's Visy Impact Award at Hort Connections 2022.
The award was presented at the major horticulture gathering in Brisbane last month where the work of the program in reducing the impact of fruit fly on Australia's horticultural industry, was acknowledged.
The Visy Industry Impact Award recognises an individual or business that has invested in creating or has implemented a system of technology or business practice outside of the industry norm that has resulted in a significant contribution to best farm practice or in cost savings through the value chain and is not in common usage by industry and will provide a commercial and competitive advantage.
The FFAWM program, in collaboration with Plant Health Australia, utilises its communication and engagement platform to engage the community in identifying, detecting and reporting high risk exotic fruit fly incursions in the Goulburn Murray Valley region.
The program was announced the top contender from a field of 16 industry candidates from across Australia.
Program governance group chairman Tony Siciliano said the program's coordinated and highly effective area wide management approach had resulted in positive outcomes for the region and has become a model of best practice which is being replicated in other areas.
The program also recently won the Victorian Agriculture Innovation Award, Victorian Achievers Award and Australian Biosecurity Award.
Program coordinator Ross Abberfield said the award independently assessed and recognised the program for implementing a system of technology and business practice outside of the industry norm, as part of the program's area wide management of fruit fly.
"The judges determined the program achieved a significant contribution to best practice and cost savings through the value chain," Mr Abberfield said.
"They believe that we have delivered technology and practice that is not in common usage by industry, providing a commercial and competitive advantage, which is something we are extremely proud of."
The project was established in 2017 and has significantly strengthened the region's protection against fruit fly through area wide management.
Ausveg chief executive officer Michael Coote said Qld fruit fly the program massively reduced Qfly populations in the region through FFAWM.
He said much of this success came from supporting new technology and trialling Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) via aerial release in the region over a three-year period.
"Between 2017 and 2019 fruit fly pressure decreased, registering a 60 per cent reduction across the region (FFAWM) and a decrease of 83 per cent in Cobram (FFAWM and SIT) during 2019-2020 when compared with the preceding two years," Mr Coote said.
"Through a strong sense of team spirit, commercial growers, industry, community, research and government organisations have joined forces and taken ownership of the Queensland fruit fly situation to protect the region's horticulture industry and to enhance its commercial, social, environmental and economic prosperity.
The Goulburn Murray Valley Regional Fruit Fly Program is supported by the Victorian Government along with Cobram and District Fruit Growers Association, Fruit Growers Victoria, Summerfruit Australia, Lions International and includes the council areas of Moira, Greater Shepparton, Strathbogie, Campaspe and Berrigan.
Award sponsor, Visy, is regarded as a packaging industry pioneer and critical provider of essential food supply chain services with an extensive range of sustainable packaging provides innovative solutions for almost every vegetable in the market.
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