Pipfruit signs up for GIA

The Orchardist - - >>conference 2014 -

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.

Pri­mary In­dus­tries Min­is­ter Nathan Guy talks to pipfruit grow­ers in Queen­stown.

Stephen Dar­ling

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