Firm on berry disease
CALLS for eradicating a fungal disease that puts the state’s $30 million blueberry industry at risk are growing louder.
Blueberry growers who met on Tuesday at Ross say they are set on urging eradication of blueberry rust.
The handling of the disease in outbreaks since 2014 will be looked at in an Upper House inquiry. The state’s strategy changed from the initial policy of eradication to one of containment after the disease hit a major producer last year.
Certified organic grower Trish Macfarlane said growers still believed eradication of blueberry rust could be achieved.
“It’s a clear message, we are not veering from our course of action calling for eradication. We had a big turnout and had many others who couldn’t attend made contact to give their support,” Ms Macfarlane said.
“Growers are coming out of the woodwork to express their concerns.
“It’s not going to be a quick fix, it’s an uphill battle and it will be one step at a time, but the science is there to eradicate blueberry rust.”
The state’s disease-free status for blueberry exports has been suspended because of the outbreaks.
Ms Macfarlane said other industry bodies were also joining the conversation.
In July peak farming body Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association joined the Primary Industry Biosecurity Action Alliance and the Australian Blueberry Growers Association in calling for eradication and for an inquiry into the handling of the incursions.
Submissions to the inquiry close on October 13.
For more details about the inquiry visit www.parliament. tas.gov.au.