The Australian Federal Government should place a greater focus on strengthening the country’s bio-security systems, according to AUSVEG.
The industry body notes that Australian agriculture is built on delivering safe and quality produce around the world, and a harder stance on keeping damaging pests and diseases out of the country is necessary for the industry to thrive.
“Australia’s agriculture industry must constantly remain on the front foot of potential pest and disease threats,” AUSVEG national public affairs manager Tyson Cattle said.
“Once a pest or disease has entered the country it can become very costly to manage. The best way to keep a pest or disease at bay and allow our growers to keep producing the best food in the world is by stopping it at the border.”
The Australian horticultural industry has been impacted in recent years by several detected threats such as tomato-potato psyllid, citrus canker, brown marmorated stink bug, as well as an ongoing issue with fruit flies.
These problems are often overlooked by the general public, and even growers, said Cattle, and the advantages of a stronger bio-security system are often not recognised until it is too late and the damage is already done.
“Imported cut flowers are a perfect example where additional safeguards must be implemented and enforced for products coming from overseas to ensure there is no bio-security risk to our industry,” Cattle said.
“Growers continue to fight pests and diseases every day through stringent on-farm bio-security practices, at their own cost. It is important that the Federal Government does its bit to ensure we are adequately funding a strong bio-security program on the front lines of defence against pests and disease.”