NFFC seeks strategy to fix 'wicked' fruit fly problems

NFFC seeks strategy to fix 'wicked' fruit fly problems

Horticulture
National Fruit Fly Symposium Host Toby Travanner, The Learning Company, and National Fruit Fly Council Manager Christina Cook.

National Fruit Fly Symposium Host Toby Travanner, The Learning Company, and National Fruit Fly Council Manager Christina Cook.

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Maintaining access into overseas markets during fruit fly outbreaks was a key theme of the recent National Fruit Fly Symposium, held online from Tuesday to Thursday last week.

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Maintaining access into overseas markets during fruit fly outbreaks was a key theme of the recent National Fruit Fly Symposium, held online from Tuesday to Thursday last week.

National Fruit Fly Council manager Christina Cook said the council were committed to understanding and supporting the relationship between fruit fly and trade.

"Each commodity has different needs and each region has unique circumstances., but there are important commonalities - trade is the reason we're here, and is the central driving force to managing fruit fly," she said.

"We need workable protocols and treatments to access markets, we need modern and effective on-farm management tools, and while growers are usually pretty good at managing fruit-fly on farm, they need support to manage off-farm risks and things outside their control."

Ms Cook said there was a particular focus on ensuring overseas trading partners were aware of fruit fly distribution, to ensure "clean" areas were not hindered by outbreaks in other areas.

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"We're looking into the relationship between export and trade, to explore what impact there might be if trading partners lost recognition of the east and west distribution of fruit fly," she said.

"We've done some great work with them (trading partners) to ensure we're plugging some gaps to make sure we're really on track to support industries.

"We're also working with state governments on domestic trade, and preparedness for fruit fly incursions, to work out how governments can best support business continuity in the face of an incursion."

Ms Cook said there was a need for key industry members to come together to address "wicked" problems, such as abandoned orchards, agri-chemical issues, building and maintaining area wide management in communities, ongoing funding issues, and using sterile insect technologies.

"Wicked problems are those with lots of stakeholders involved, but no one person or group is responsible or has the money to solve the problem," she said.

"We're planning a series of think tanks with subject matter experts to work out how to deal with these problems, looking at solutions and ways to present those to decision-makers and funders."

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