Industry News

Aussie growers urged to take QLD fruit fly survey

The phone-based survey is part of the ongoing ‘SITplus’ initiative, a collaborative and multi-faceted project to fight Qfly involving Horticulture Innovation Australia, key government agencies and the country’s leading research organisations.

Targeting the Riverland, Sunraysia and Murray/Goulburn Valley regions, the survey is being run by CSIRO and will delve into the acceptance of and attitudes towards area wide management (AWM) of Qfly.

AWM involves the coordination of pest-management approaches across all fly habitats within a set area – not just on commercial farms, but throughout the whole community.

The survey will also collect participants’ thoughts on the use of the sterile insect technique (SIT), which involves the release of sterile flies into the environment so that the wild population of flies cannot reproduce.

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Australia: CGMMV found in Carnarvon region

The Western Australian Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) says it is very concerned a potentially deadly plant virus has been found one of the state's main horticultural production zones.

Statewide voluntary testing has found two cases of Cucumber Green Mottle Mosaic Virus (CGMMV) in the Carnarvon region.

The disease was first found in Western Australia in a cucumber crop near Geraldton last month.

CGMMV affects a range of cucurbit crops, like melons and cucumbers, and can cause substantial losses.

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South African citrus industry prepares for potential HLB incursion

With Asian citrus greening causing havoc in numerous growing areas around the world, South Africa is working hard to keep the region free of the pathogen and refining protocols in case it is ever detected.

The disease, also known as Huanglongbing (HLB), is a major problem in places like Brazil and the U.S. state of Florida, where it has severely damaged the industry.

HLB, which has a number of impacts on tree health, is easily spread by moving infected plants and through its most effective vector, the Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP).

Citrus Growers Association (CGA) of Southern Africa CEO Justin Chadwick said that at the Citrus Research International’s (CRI) recent Citrus Research Symposium, it had been indicated that it was not a question of ‘if’ the disease would one day find its way into the country, but ‘when’.

Paul Fourie, manager of the CRI division called the Southern African Citrus Improvement Scheme (CIS) and associate professor in plant pathology at Stellenbosch University, said the industry had a range of initiatives to prevent an incursion.

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Mexico: HLB detected close to U.S. border

The California Department of Food and Agriculture has called on the state’s residents to keep an eye out for signs of citrus greening in residential groves, following a recent detection of the disease 23 miles south of the border in Mexicali.

The disease, also known as Huanglongbing (HLB), was found on a single citrus tree in a small grove and one single Asian citrus Psyllid (ACP) tested positive for carrying the bacteria that causes the disease.

Agriculture officials in Mexico are working quickly to survey the surrounding citrus trees as a part of their ongoing efforts to protect the country’s citrus from this devastating plant disease through monitoring, the removal of diseased trees and ACP treatments.

In California, local and state agriculture officials are also monitoring citrus trees in the border region, placing insect traps, releasing a natural predator of the psyllid and conducting treatments to protect citrus trees from the pest.

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No new citrus canker detections in Brazilian fruit, says EC

Despite rumors circulating recently that Brazilian citrus imports to the European Union may soon be blocked due to phytosanitary concerns, it appears the South American country has sorted out the issue for the time being.

Various media outlets have been reporting that the European Commission (EC) was considering suspending trade with Brazil after there were eight detections of limes infected with citrus canker disease.

The fruit was entering the U.K., having been shipped from the Brazilian port of Santos.

However, in a written statement sent to www.freshfruitportal.com, an EC representative said no new interceptions had been made for ‘a few weeks’.

“So far this season, there have been 8 interceptions of Brazilian citrus fruit consignments at EU import control because of citrus canker,” said Enrico Brivio, spokesperson for Health, Food Safety, Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

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Lagos airport export unit closed due to illegal donkey skin exports

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Fruit and vegetables exports in Nigeria have lamented the shutting down of the Export Unit at the Lagos international airport by officials of the Federal Operations Unit of the Nigerian Customs Service. According to the exporters, the closure has led to loss of revenue.

The exporters alleged that Customs acted following a tip off about some Chinese who were exporting donkey skin through Emirates Airline.

Confirming the incident, Captain John Okakpu Chief Executive Officer, ABX World, described the exporters frustrations as unquantifiable, saying they have already lost millions of Naira following the Customs' action.

He said Customs ought to have carried out a thorough investigation before shutting down all export businesses at the Lagos Airport.

Capt. John said the action negates Federal Government’s agricultural road map which was launched by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo on Monday 15 August.

In a swift reaction, an official of the Nigerian Customs Service, Murtala Muhammed International Airport Command, said the closure was sequel to information, the service received concerning some prohibited items .

AU: Claims of 'Bananageddon' dismissed

A leading Australian researcher has dismissed claims that bananas will be extinct within five years.

Professor Andre Drenth from the Centre for Plant Science at the University of Queensland said there was little relevance in the media reporting of an impending ‘bananageddon’ to Australia’s banana industry.

Reports on August 16 by an international plant pathologist stating that the disease black Sigatoka would wipe out the industry were blown out of proportion according to Professor Andre Drenth from the University of Queensland.

“We currently do not have black Sigatoka in Australia. But we are fully aware of the threat that it poses to the industry and we are continuously monitoring this,” Professor Drenth said.

“A high level of awareness among our banana growers, ongoing monitoring of leaf spot samples from production areas, effective diagnostic tests to distinguish it from the endemic yellow Sigatoka pathogen, restrictions on imports of banana plants and quarantine inspections at sea and airports are part of the extensive measures to safeguard the industry from this important disease,” he said.

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WA strawberries allowed back into Tasmania, with conditions

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Posted August 18, 2016 14:25:46

Western Australian strawberry growers can once again export their fruit to Tasmania following the lifting of a temporary ban.

The ban was put into place earlier this month when three WA punnets were found to contain green snails.

Biosecurity Tasmania said strawberries from properties more than two kilometres from an infestation could now be imported into Tasmania.

However, a series of import conditions would need to be met, including monthly farm inspections to ensure the property was pest-free.

The snails attack a wide range of leafy vegetables and also wheat, lupins, pasture and native plants.

The detection of the snails has been a biosecurity wake-up call for WA growers, said chair of the APC Strawberry Producers Committee, Neil Handasyde.

"It's certainly been a clear message that growers need to be aware of what is going on and [be aware of] biosecurity on their own farms and biosecurity for what is going off the farms," he said.

"So it's been a bit of wake-up call, particularly for three growers."

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