Feed­back to im­port idea sour

‘Limes have no shelf life’

Central and North Burnett Times - - LIFE - Adam McCleery adam.mccleery@cnbtimes.com.au

PRO­DUC­ERS are wor­ried about the im­pact Tahi­tian lime im­ports could have on the lo­cal citrus mar­ket.

The Fed­eral Govern­ment has pro­posed a plan al­low­ing im­ports from five Pa­cific Is­lands na­tions.

Cross­roads citrus owner Emma Robin­son grows citrus near Gayn­dah, in­clud­ing lime.

She said while it was just a hy­po­thet­i­cal at the mo­ment, if it were to go ahead it would jeop­ar­dise the lo­cal lime mar­ket.

“Limes are very im­por­tant to my pro­duc­tion,” Ms Robin­son said.

“It could have a very detri­men­tal ef­fect in fu­ture terms.”

Ms Robin­son said Pa­cific Is­land limes his­tor­i­cally did not meet the same qual­ity as lo­cally grown limes.

“At the mo­ment they grow very poor-qual­ity limes in the Pa­cific gen­er­ally,” Ms Robin­son said.

“They wouldn’t re­ally meet our specs.”

Other po­ten­tial risks are pests as­so­ci­ated with the fruit and the in­abil­ity of limes to travel long dis­tances while re­tain­ing their qual­ity.

“They have pest prob­lems that we don’t have here,” Ms Robin­son said.

“There would be sig­nif­i­cant quar­an­tine is­sues to be over­come.

“Also, limes sea freight very poorly as they don’t have a shelf life, which is the main rea­son we don’t do it in re­verse.”

Ms Robin­son wasn’t too pleased at the pro­posal but said with it still in the hy­po­thet­i­cal stage, she doubted it would be ac­cepted.

“I think it was a vague sug­ges­tion and some­one re­ally doesn't know what they are talk­ing about, to be hon­est,” Ms Robin­son said.

The Pa­cific na­tions in­cluded in the pro­posal are the Cook Is­lands, Niue, Samoa, Tonga and Van­u­atu.

Citrus Aus­tralia con­ducted a risk as­sess­ment on Pa­cific Is­lands lime im­ports and ac­cess man­ager David Daniels said it would build upon ex­ist­ing poli­cies.

“Aus­tralia al­ready has im­port pol­icy for limes from var­i­ous ori­gins, in­clud­ing New Cale­do­nia, al­though to the best of our knowl­edge no mean­ing­ful trade in limes has ever taken place,” Mr Daniels said.

The con­clu­sion by Citrus Aus­tralia in the re­port was the risk man­age­ment mea­sures and op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dures in place would pro­vide an ap­pro­pri­ate level of pro­tec­tion against pests.

I think it was a vague sug­ges­tion and some­one re­ally doesn’t know what they are talk­ing about, to be hon­est. — Emma Robin­son

PRO­DUCER: Emma Robin­son said there would be risks in­volved with im­port­ing limes into Aus­tralia. PHO­TOS: ADAM MCCLEERY

LEFT: Cross­roads grows limes, among other citrus.

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