Government

Tread lightly on levy reform

AUSTRALIAN Farm Institute Executive director Mick Keogh has cautioned federal Senators against throwing the baby out with the bathwater when considering potential changes to agricultural research and development (R&D) structures.

At this month’s Canberra hearing of the Senate inquiry into agricultural levies, Mr Keogh said great confusion exists between industry representative structures and the links they have to some rural Research and Development Corporations (RDCs), and their roles.

But he warned, “They are two separate issues”.

“The confusion between who represents versus the management and operations of the RDCs is sometimes a bit confusing,” he said.

“You would hope that that would not result in... throwing the baby out with the bathwater in terms of the future of the RDCs.”

Mr Keogh said there was widespread international recognition about the role of public investment in agricultural R&D.

He said the private sector had grown significantly in terms of its investment and role.

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South Africa may consider stop citrus to Southern Europe

This month a group from South Africa will be visiting European countries to clarify inspection procedures for CBS an issue which costs the industry at least ZAR1 billion (US$86 million) per year. Among those will be Deon Joubert, special envoy for market access from Citrus Growers Association of South Africa (CGA).

"The main point is that we are improving, as the past season saw a similar volume of citrus fruit going through Rotterdam as the previous year and in 2013 we had 30 interceptions, in 2014 only 5 were cases were found. I can safely say that the Dutch NPPO and their inspection arm the KCB did us no favours and were strict but fair. That is all South Africa can and should expect and the Dutch service, which is highly regarded worldwide, were open and this revealed that the amount of fruit with CBS symptoms have significantly reduced," explains Joubert.

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Norway ups use of anti-lice drugs - Undercurrent News

Norwegian fish farmers increased their use of drugs against sealice substantially in 2014.

The biggest increase was for hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), for which the use quadrupled to over 30,000 metric tons, said the Norwegian Seafood Federation (FHL).

The usage of emamectin also increased, while diflubenzuron and teflubenzuron increased by around 50% each, said the association. Use of those treatments is restricted due to their side effects on the fish and wild shellfish.

Part of the reason for the increased usage, said FHL, is that delousing is increasingly being done in the pens, rather than in wellboats. This reduces stress for the fish, but also requires higher doses of treatment. H2O2 is also effective against amoebic gill disease, it said.

Sealice's increasing resistance to treatments is a concern for the industry. The government has identified lice as the biggest challenge to growing Norway's aquaculture.

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Station foreclosure case angers Queensland graziers

Queensland station foreclosure case angers other graziers impacted by bovine Johne's disease

Posted February 18, 2015 13:13:49

Reports that a Queensland cattle station is facing foreclosure in the wake of the 2012 bovine Johne's disease (BJD) outbreak have sparked anger and frustration among other affected graziers.

The BJD Action Coalition yesterday revealed a business which had suffered half a million dollars in losses will be foreclosed in March, despite having since been cleared of the debilitating disease.

Megan Atkinson's station near Greenvale remains under partial quarantine, after her family purchased a large consignment of bulls from a property suspected of carrying BJD two years ago.

She said the reported foreclosure is not an isolated case, with many graziers still suffering huge financial hardship following the outbreak.

"We were in a position of seeing the light between the trees, for debt levels, but now we are back to square one," she said.

"There's one other family that we've had close conversations with, they were basically sold up by the banks.

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EPA continuing to investigate cause of dead fish in Georges River | NSW EPA

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is continuing to investigate the possible cause of a fish kill in the Georges River at Moorebank near Liverpool which occurred over the weekend.

EPA officers have been actively investigating the incident over the weekend and took a number of samples of fish and water for testing and analysis. The EPA is onsite again today and continues to work closely with staff from Liverpool Council and the State Emergency Service to resolve the incident as quickly as possible.

Booms have been placed in sections of the River to help contain and move the fish to shore and an excavator is being used to move the dead fish into trucks for proper disposal at a waste facility.

Four tonnes of fish have now been removed from the River since Sunday and their removal is expected to be completed today.

A storm on Sunday afternoon flushed white foamy water from a stormwater outlet into this section of the River, samples of this material were also taken for further testing and the EPA is continuing to work closely with local industry and the community to identify the exact nature and cause of this pollutant.

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Fish kill discovered near Manila Bay breakwater | Metro, News, The Philippine Star | philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines - Oxygen depletion in the waters near the Manila Yacht Club may have caused a fish kill yesterday morning, according to the Bureau of Fisheries and Acquatic Resources (BFAR).

Dozens of dead mullet fish were seen floating in Manila Bay near the breakwater at dawn, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said.

Dissolved oxygen levels from three sampling stations were at 1.2, “way below the normal oxygen level of five (and above)… to be able to sustain marine life,” according to the BFAR’s initial report.

“Apparently, the water quality in the Manila Yacht Club breakwater is polluted due to stagnation, hence the cause of the fish kill,” the PCG added.

The PCG said there had been no chemical or oil spills that could cause the fish kill.

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AU: Grape growers hopeful about Vietnam trade ban

The Table Grape Association says it's hopeful a Vietnamese ban on Australian fruit and vegetable imports could be lifted from May.

Australian Agriculture Department officials and industry representatives attended meetings in Hanoi last week, to try to resolve the ban that has been in place since January 1. Vietnam had expressed concern about Mediterranean fruit fly, and also the length of time Australia was taking to assess Vietnam's application to export mangoes and lychees. The Australian Table Grape Association chief executive Jeff Scott said the productive meeting held both positive and negative news for growers.

"The Vietnamese believe that the documentation should satisfy their concerns in terms of how we deal with Med fly," he said. "The result of this should be that the Vietnamese Government, we're hoping, will recognise that there are no Med fly in the eastern states, and therefore we should be able to resume exporting from May onwards."

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South Africa: Limpopo citrus producer eyes first trial U.S. shipment this year

A South African group of fruit producers intends to be the first to send a trial of consignment citrus from its area in the Limpopo province to the U.S. later this year.

The Loskop Valley-based GOGO Group is hoping to send a trial shipment of its best quality oranges this coming season through its parent company EKM Exports.

While currently only citrus from South Africa’s Western Cape is permitted to enter the U.S., in August 2014 the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) proposed a rule that would allow imports from provinces where citrus black spot (CBS) is known to occur, such as the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo.

Fruit shipped from these areas would be required to be imported in commercial consignments and would have to be produced in accordance with the systems approach.

“We’re trying to do the first shipments from our area to the U.S. this year, and we’re still in the process of getting that organized,” EKM Exports and GOGO Group managing director Eben Kruger told www.freshfruitportal.com.

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China: Food smuggling case in national media spotlight

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The floodgates have opened in China’s crackdown on agricultural import smuggling and customs evasion, with local media reporting that 33 people have been arrested in a recent high-profile case.

The local press have not named any specific companies involved, but highlighted one of the firms in question is owned by the “Dalian Liu family”, which imports frozen beef, seafood and fruit.

Broadcaster CCTV cited figures from the General Administration of Customs that showed 638 cases of agricultural smuggling were recorded in 2014, with an estimated product value of CNY37.96 billion (US$6 billion).

The administration estimated the value of suspected tax evasion at CNY8.27 billion (US$1.32 billion), which constitutes a 53.6% rise year-on-year .

CCTV reported these figures represented a 77.7% in the number of cases and an 88% uptick in total product value.

Sunraysia growers have been promised $780,000 to fight fruit fly

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Sunraysia fruit growers say they will try mass baiting of female Queensland fruit flies in an effort to combat their worst outbreak ever.

The Victorian Government has announced almost $800,000 toward the new technology to try and control the 43 outbreaks currently across the region.

Vince DeMaria, acting chairman of the Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area Industry Development Committee, says they have to try something to protect their access to export markets.

"We'd rather go down fighting than give it away straight away," he said.

"So we're under no illusions this is going to be difficult.

"But we owe it to our industries and communities and the economy of the Greater Sunraysia Area to really give this thing a fight."

Mr DeMaria said the mass baiting of female fruit flies had been trialled in the Swan Hill area recently, but it was one of the first times it had ever been used on this particular pest.

"By putting a lot of those traps out, we are intercepting the females and breaking the breeding cycle," he said.

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