Potato trade ban remains in place
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.”