Pipfruit signs up for GIA
The GIA represents a new, partnership-based approach to managing pests and diseases that pose a threat to New Zealand's primary industries.
It creates a partnership between industry and government that aims to improve biosecurity outcomes and give everyone the confidence that the best decisions are being made.
The kiwifruit industry signed the GIA deed with the government in May of this year and the pipfruit industry is following suit, filing its application last month.
Nathan Guy told pipfruit growers at their annual conference that its representative body, Pipfruit New Zealand, has been an active supporter of GIA. “I am pleased to have received your application to formally join GIA and to sign the GIA Deed. These initiatives represent a significant milestone in the development of a partnership approach to biosecurity that has been many years in the making.”
The kiwifruit Psa-V outbreak and the Queensland fruit fly detections have highlighted the importance of having government and industry working together to prepare for and respond to incursions, he says.
GIA will mean both industry and government will be better prepared to reduce the impact of incursions on productivity and markets if and when they occur. In the budget, the government committed an additional $17 million to biosecurity and food safety. This funding increase includes placing more MPI (Ministry for Primary Industries) staff in overseas postings in priority and emerging markets to help the government to respond to trade issues quickly and effectively. MPI staff in China has been increased to seven positions and there will also be an additional staff member each in Jakarta and Dubai.
MPI chief operating officer Andrew Coleman likens the GIA agreements to “exercising in peace time”, so that when action is required for a pest incursion all the parties can respond together. It also means industry shares the risk with the government. The cost sharing aspect of GIA almost stymied the best intent of the agreements. “We were way too narrowminded in our thinking,” he says. MPI had previously failed to recognise the current contribution growers were making to cost sharing on their own orchards.
The GIAs will unlock information about what pipfruit growers want; MPI representatives want to come to local meetings to know what is deemed important to the industry. MPI has now developed a highly competent investigative and biosecurity response team. In April 2012 when a single male Queensland fruit fly was found in Auckland, it took MPI three days to get a proper response in place. “In January in Whangarei it took us 12 hours; in April in Whangarei it took us two hours,” Andrew says. There is still room for further improvement but MPI is working hard on developing a biosecurity network. “In Whangarei we push the button and 13 organisations immediately come up.”
Andrew says he has been in charge of the last three interceptions. It is believed all of the fruit fly incursions came to New Zealand as an egg or larva which then pupated and emerged from the ground close to where it was trapped.
Pipfruit NZ director Stephen Darling asked what steps MPI is taking to deal with risks of importing unwanted pests at the source, rather than interceptions onshore in New Zealand. Andrew says considerable effort is being spent in this area; after the conference he was going to meet with his Australian counterparts to ensure Australian quarantine standards are robust enough to meet MPI's standards. Also, considerable effort has been placed on improving diagnostic systems for Pacific Island nations through the Pacific Outreach Programme.
Pipfruit NZ chief executive Alan Pollard says there has been a paradigm shift within MPI, and within the pipfruit industry,
The pipfruit industry was congratulated by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy, for being the second horticultural industry to sign up for the GIA (Government Industry Agreement).
have been made at the border over the past 18 months, including upgrading X-ray detection technology, and over 125 new quarantine inspectors, including five additional detector dog teams, across the country.
“It's worth giving a bit of context here. Around 175,000 items come across our border each day, and we receive around 10 million travellers a year.”
The Queensland fruit fly detections earlier this year demonstrated the effectiveness and strength of the detection and response programmes of New Zealand's biosecurity system.
“In both cases, the responses progressed smoothly, largely due to the fact that MPI had taken on board many of the lessons from the 2012 Queensland fruit fly response.” MPI's Queensland fruit fly response plan has been peer-reviewed by international experts, and reflects international best practice in responding to fruit fly detections.