NBCN new tool against animal disease import
New buzzword acronym: NBCN ( National Biosecurity Capability Network).
The past 15 months have seen a period of unbelievable growth and challenges for this NBCN. AsureQuality (AQ) and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) have worked closely together during this time to ensure that the partnership between each other and with NBCN members, continues to grow for the purpose of keeping New Zealand ‘‘clean and green’’.
They have been very proactive in recruiting organisations into this network, the most recent I am aware of being Beef and Lamb NZ and NgaTiwai Trust Board, Whangarei. Many other structured rural organisations such as Matamata District Federated Farmers are being asked to consider being a NBCN member, as we can bring both experience and livestock and man management expertise in responding to incursions in New Zealand.
This recruitment process will strengthen our rural capability to provide expertise and resources when responding to all types of incursions within the animal, forestry, horticultural, marine and environmental sectors.
One has to still be mindful that in our East Waikato we still have 33 per cent of the national dairy herd, significant numbers of sheep and beef, dairy goats, angora goats and deer.
All are cloven hoofed and unfortunately are very susceptible to many exotic disease that can in some case be zoonotic: they can be transmitted between species, specifically from animals to humans. Zoonoses include all diseases that people can catch from animals such as wildlife, domestic animals, insects, primates, and birds.
A significant bio security incursion such as foot and mouth disease will be devastating for our district, let alone New Zealand.
Being a livestock farmers does have risk and reward, the major risk for farmers with a major disease outbreak is their farm business could be made worthless over night.
That is why I have made it clear many times in my media commentary, New Zealand bio security is a serious topic that I champion.
Information was released in July, that in one week in February in New Zealand, 35 new notifications of pests, diseases or organisms were reported and 156 matters continue to be under incursion investigation or response.
Eleven new notifications of food compliance investigations and two recall notifications were received – 172 food complaints and 28 recalls are under investigation and/ or response.
115,082 passengers arrived in New Zealand and were processed through international air terminals – 3079 items were seized and 126 infringements were issued.
4296 cargo lines were identified – 792 were inspected and 276 were seized.13,634 sea containers arrived into New Zealand and 233 actions were taken in respect of contamination.
212 used vehicles or machinery items were imported and 52 required decontamination. 500,000 items of mail arrived at the international mail centre and 635 required further inspection and 103 were deemed to be a risk and were treated or destroyed.
Whoever said that New Zealand was a quiet place?! I do appreciate the border quarantine staff in all the work they do on our behalf.
But unfortunately there are stories on how varroa mite was bought into NZ, how psa got into kiwi fruit orchards, how rabbit khaleesi virus was illegally released in parts of NZ (but welcomed).
Which illustrates that any major exotic disease outbreak statistically could be initiated by our own farmer peers.
Stew Wadey is chairman of Matamata District Federated Farmers