Vegie plant bug is here to stay

Tasmanian Country - - NEWS -

A DE­STRUC­TIVE hor­ti­cul­tural pest found for the first time in Aus­tralia in Fe­bru­ary can­not be erad­i­cated, so the in­dus­try will seek to man­age it, rather than de­stroy it.

The Na­tional Man­age­ment Group for tomato-po­tato psyl­lid (TPP) — com­pris­ing all Aus­tralian gov­ern­ments, af­fected in­dus­tries and Plant Health Aus­tralia — has agreed TPP is no longer tech­ni­cally fea­si­ble to erad­i­cate. The pest was de­tected in Perth, WA, in Fe­bru­ary

TPP is a small fly­ing in­sect that is re­spon­si­ble for car­ry­ing and spread­ing the bac­te­ria that causes Ze­bra chip dis­ease in pota­toes.

The dis­ease pro­duces dark brown stripes and ren­ders po­tato tu­bers un­us­able.

The pest af­ter be­ing de­tected in New Zealand in 2006 cost the in­dus­try more than $200 mil­lion.

The im­pact of TPP could be po­ten­tially dev­as­tat­ing to the po­tato in­dus­try and could re­sult in mil­lions of dol­lars of losses an­nu­ally through in­creased pest con­trol and mon­i­tor­ing, re­duced yields and disruption to com­mod­ity ex­port mar­kets.

The De­part­ment of Food and Agri­cul­ture WA said it would work on a plan to con­trol the tomato po­tato psyl­lid, which at­tacks a range of veg­etable crops in­clud­ing tomato, egg­plant, cap­sicum, chilli and tamar­illo.

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