Deal­ing with a big pest

The Cobram Courier - - NEWS -

Queens­land Fruit Fly and the threat the pest poses to com­mer­cial grow­ers, home gar­den­ers and the greater Goul­burn Mur­ray Val­ley re­gion was a fo­cal point at the No Flies On Us Expo in Co­bram on Au­gust 27.

Day one of the week-long expo drew a large crowd with the event suc­cess­ful in in­creas­ing com­mu­nity knowl­edge and aware­ness of the dev­as­tat­ing ef­fects of fruit fly.

There was in­for­ma­tion and ad­vice aplenty on the best way to man­age and con­trol QFF, with the pro­gram fea­tur­ing a com­mu­nity in­for­ma­tion ses­sion, trap-mak­ing work­shops with lo­cal pri­mary school stu­dents and a grower in­for­ma­tion fo­rum.

A com­mu­nity bar­be­cue cooked by Co­bram Ro­tary Club and give­aways through­out the day added to the flut­ter of ac­tiv­ity at the Co­bram Civic Cen­tre as part of the Co­bram leg of the expo.

Goul­burn Mur­ray Val­ley re­gional fruit fly co-or­di­na­tor Ross Ab­ber­field said the event brought to­gether a range of spe­cial­ists and pro­vided an op­por­tu­nity for the com­mu­nity to tap into the knowl­edge and ex­per­tise of lead­ing spe­cial­ists in the field.

‘‘It is great to be able to bring to­gether a range of ser­vice clubs, schools and in­dus­try groups and work to­gether to spread the word on fruit fly con­trol and man­age­ment,’’ he said.

The rov­ing expo also vis­ited Mooroopna, Euroa, Echuca, Shep­par­ton and Ber­ri­gan in readi­ness for the warmer weather which typ­i­cally sig­ni­fies an in­crease in fruit fly ac­tiv­ity.

‘‘Our hor­ti­cul­ture in­dus­try is vi­tal to our lo­cal econ­omy and not only gen­er­ates much-needed jobs for ru­ral and re­gional Vic­to­ria, but also sup­ports many busi­nesses across the re­gion,’’ Mr Ab­ber­field said.

‘‘By work­ing with the com­mu­nity to en­sure fruit trees and host plants in the home gar­den and or­chard are mon­i­tored and pro­tected against fruit fly, we are al­low­ing our hor­ti­cul­tural in­dus­try to con­tinue to grow and flour­ish.’’

Dis­trict grower Adrian Conti was one of many guest speak­ers on the day.

As Sum­mer­fruit Aus­tralia deputy chair­man, Mr Conti has pro­vided a pos­i­tive rep­re­sen­ta­tion for grow­ers in re­la­tion to the ma­jor is­sues con­fronting the in­dus­try.

He is also ac­tively in­volved as a mem­ber of the Co­bram and Dis­trict Fruit Grower’s As­so­ci­a­tion.

The expo was de­liv­ered through the Goul­burn Mur­ray Val­ley Re­gional Fruit Fly Group, which takes in the lo­cal gov­ern­ment ar­eas of Cam­paspe, Greater Shep­par­ton, Moira, Strath­bo­gie and Ber­ri­gan.

Proud as punch: Co­bram Angli­can Gram­mar stu­dents had a blast at the fruit fly expo.

All smiles: Lacey Eddy, Livinia Vescio and Maleah Hard­ing were ex­cited to learn about Queens­land fruit fly at the Co­bram Civic Cen­tre.

Knowl­edge is power: The fruit fly expo gave these St Joseph’s stu­dents the chance to do some prac­ti­cal learn­ing.

In the thick of it: Ovens Val­ley MP Tim McCurdy, Fed­eral Mem­ber for Mur­ray Damian Drum and Moira Shire Mayor Li­bro Mus­tica get in­volved in the fruit fly trap mak­ing.

Sus­te­nance: Co­bram Ro­tary Club mem­bers cooked a moun­tain of sausages for the hun­gry school kids.

Fruit fly hunters: St Joseph’s Pri­mary School stu­dents show off their fruit fly traps.

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