Post-harvest treatment plant part of $30m package to fight fruit fly

December 14 2021 - 4:50am
Post-harvest treatment plant part of $30m package to fight fruit fly

THIRTY million dollars of Federal Government funding is being funneled into the ongoing fight against fruit fly.

The $30m will be spent over three years and be put towards upgrades to state-managed fruit fly roadblocks and quarantine stations, a post-harvest treatment plants including one in SA, and the expansion of sterile insect technology capability to drive down pest pressure in vulnerable areas.

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Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud and Senator Anne Ruston said the funding would enable rural and regional communities to deal with the impacts of fruit fly.

"Fruit fly is a significant pest for our horticultural industries, so we need to tackle the issue from different angles," Mr Littleproud said.

"Australia produces around $6.5 billion worth of crops that fruit fly would love a piece of, so it's important that we protect our vital horticulture industries.

"We're looking to stop the spread of fruit fly through regional Australia, while also driving the numbers of fruit flies down.

"We'll work together with our state and territory government counterparts to make sure our farmers can get the best out of their crops year in, year out."

Senator for SA Anne Ruston said tackling fruit fly was essential for local exporters to maintain their market advantage.

"It's vital to get fruit fly off the table as a barrier for local producers and ensure regions like the Adelaide Hills and Riverland can continue to access lucrative export markets," she said.

"A key component of this is our commitment to build critical post-harvest infrastructure in SA to meet immediate needs in response to increasing outbreaks.

"SA is a horticulture powerhouse and this will help us to continue to punch above our weight into the future.

"We are committed to supporting our growers to achieve their potential and the communities that rely on them."

The Federal Government acknowledged the work of Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie who advocated for the funding.

Ms Sharkie welcomed the funding news.

"A post-harvest treatment plant will provide growers with a program that satisfies targeted export market requirements and will have the potential to open up new markets," she said.

"Our cherry crop represents 95 per cent of SA's production and about 11pc of the national export market and our strawberry industry is export-ready and actively targeting markets in Thailand, Singapore and Kuala Lumpar.

"In tough economic times and in uncertain international markets our SA producers do amazing work, off their own back, out of their own pocket, to build their export networks and this project will just support their efforts."

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