Bio security failures serious issue
Ihave made it no secret that New Zealand Bio Security is a very serious issue to me. believe we must protect our primary food producing farmers from undesirable organisms getting into New Zealand.
I will watch with great interest, Martyn Dunne CNZM as the new director-general of the Ministry for Primary Industries.
His CV indicates a completely new dimension to the leadership of the ministry that includes experience as New Zealand’s high commissioner in Canberra, the immediate past comptroller of Customs and New Zealand Customs Service chief executive, and before that, a major-general in the New Zealand Army.
But dare I say it, another biosecurity incursion – theileria in cattle.
Some North Island cows did suffer anaemia as the result of infection with a strain of the parasite theileria orientalis, called Ikeda. There were stock fatalities. I was aware that on September 11, the ministry knew of 127 farms affected with theileria; 102 of these had tested positive for the Ikeda strain, another 19 farms were being tested and six farms were strongly suspected of being infected based on clinical signs – most of these are north of Tirau.
The issue first presented itself in Northland but spring cases are being found further south.
Theileria orientalis is a parasite transmitted by ticks when they feed on the animal’s blood. The disease is not spread by direct animal-to-animal contact in the absence of ticks.
There are no human health or food safety risks associated with theileria.
I understand the origin of this undesirable parasite problem can be traced back to Kenya and has highly likely come into New Zealand from Australia.
Yep, that is another issue as this parasite would have had to be hosted by a live animal that must have entered through our New Zealand border controls.
But are we farmers our own worst enemy in serious biosecurity incursions?
Former Federated Farmers board member John Hartnell and present bee industry chairman, had presented on how PSA came into New Zealand, which was vindicated much later by a ministry inquiry.
He also said the bee industry had been let down by failures in biosecurity, the varroa mite being exhibit A.
When trying to work out how the varroa mite entered New Zealand, it is considered that two mite-infected queens had passed through border control in a matchbox in a person’s trouser pocket.
How far away are we from being inflicted with bovine spongiform encephalopathy , commonly known as mad cow disease, a fatal neurodegenerative disease or footand-mouth disease (aphthae epizooticae), an infectious and sometimes fatal viral disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals.
Biosecurity concerns can be zoonotic, meaning they are can be transmitted to man, a potentially huge impediment to productivity for our exportable primary agricultural foods, a concern we are aware of for that much-needed income for New Zealand.
On a more close to home and very relevant local district topic, is my support to promote rural industry career opportunities for our young people.
I very much look forward to participating in Matamata Intermediate School’s careers day on November 15.
I will present to them some reality of a fast-growing world population that will require many challenges to be met to satisfy a 9.5 billion population by 2050.
Most of these students will be in their late 40s by then.
I will demonstrate that iPods, smartphones will not nourish them but acknowledge information communication technology will be a big part in support of the food production process, that without question will need various skill sets to achieve.
Our older college students also need the opportunity to develop skills to add value to New Zealand.
Youth Works in Matamata is working with employers and young people in the town to ensure young people have a plan and direction for their future that links to the workforce requirements of local urban and rural businesses.
Getting the right people is essential and recruiting and developing young people is a cost-effective way in the long term for any business to build a dynamic and productive workforce.
If you are able to offer entry-level positions and willing to train and work with young people to build meaningful careers, we want to hear from you.
Contact Kym Bolton-Hampton, Matamata Youth Works at firstname.lastname@example.org