Po­tato trade ban re­mains in place

Manjimup-Bridgetown Times - - News - Ce­cilia Allen

EX­PORTS of cer­tain fruit and veg­eta­bles af­fected by the de­tec­tion of tomato po­tato psyl­lid will re­sume into all States but the fu­ture of the po­tato in­dus­try con­tin­ues to face un­cer­tainty.

Talks led by the De­part­ment of Agriculture and Food in Ade­laide last week have re­sulted in an in-prin­ci­ple agree­ment to risk mit­i­ga­tion and treat­ment mea­sures, which will work for many WA grow­ers and of­fer the ap­pro­pri­ate level of pro­tec­tion for other States.

Pome fruit and stone fruit will be able to re­sume trade as nor­mal, pro­vided they are free of any green plant or leaf ma­te­rial.

Mea­sures such as washing, tar- geted in­spec­tion or se­cure pack­ag­ing will ap­ply to a range of pack­aged pro­duce, in­clud­ing straw­ber­ries and leafy veg­eta­bles.

Seed po­tato grow­ers are still un­able to trade.

Man­jimup seed po­tato grower Alan Parker said he was about a week a way from mak­ing a de­ci­sion on the fu­ture of his crop.

“Why har­vest a crop, if it doesn’t have a fu­ture,” he said.

Mr Parker is still har­vest­ing pota­toes to be sent to South East Asia but can­not ex­port to South Aus­tralia.

“We’ve got stuff sit­ting in the shed and about 250-tonne in the ground, which is prob­a­bly go­ing to go nowhere.

“We’re talk­ing $250,000.” Agriculture and Food Min­is­ter Alan­nah MacTier­nan said the in­ter­state trade re­stric­tions in the months since the psyl­lid was found in WA had hit grow­ers hard and the pro­posed changes would save the State’s hor­ti­cul­ture in­dus­try mil­lions of dol­lars in po­ten­tial lost earn­ings.

“This in-prin­ci­ple agree­ment is a wel­come step for­ward but there is more work to be done on pota­toes, cut flow­ers, some lines of field-packed veg­eta­bles and some nurs­ery stock,” she said.

“We will con­tinue work­ing to en­sure these pro­posed changes are put in place as quickly as pos­si­ble and to rene­go­ti­ate on those prod­ucts, es­pe­cially pota­toes, still af­fected by trade re­stric­tions.”

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