Vegeta­blesNZ Inc.

New im­port con­trols on Aus­tralian cur­cur­bits

NZ Grower - - Contents - JOHN SEY­MOUR Se­nior Busi­ness Man­ager Veg­eta­bles New Zealand Inc.

The Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries (MPI) sus­pended Aus­tralian im­ports on fruit and veg­eta­bles of the cu­cur­bit fam­ily, af­ter the CGMMV was de­tected on Aus­tralian wa­ter­melon in midAu­gust.

The virus is a de­struc­tive dis­ease of cu­cur­bits, such as squash, pump­kin, cu­cum­ber and melon, and can cause se­vere yield losses. It only in­fects plants, so is not a con­cern for an­i­mal or hu­man health.

That sus­pen­sion was lifted on Au­gust 27, when new im­port re­quire­ments were put in place by Aus­tralia to man­age the risk of GCMMV on host fruit ar­riv­ing at the New Zealand bor­der. An In­dus­try Ad­vice No­tice (IAN) was is­sued in Aus­tralia to ad­vise in­dus­try that NZ has re­vised the im­port con­di­tions of CGMMV or host com­modi­ties.

MPI ad­vised that from Au­gust 22, fresh cu­cur­bit pro­duce from Aus­tralia can only be im­ported af­ter com­ply­ing with the new ad­di­tional con­di­tions re­quired for fresh wa­ter­melon (Citrul­lus lana­tus) and pump­kin (Cu­cur­bita pepo) fruit must be sourced from an area free from CGMMV; and that fresh hon­ey­dew melon/rock­melon (Cu­cumis melo), cu­cum­ber (Cu­cumis sativus), scal­lop­ini (Cu­cur­bita pepo) and zuc­chini (Cu­cur­bita pepo) must be pro­duced in a pest- free place of pro­duc­tion for CGMMV. The Man­ual of Im­port­ing Coun­try Re­quire­ments (MICoR) in Aus­tralia has been up­dated to re­flect the changed con­di­tions. Ap­proval for ex­port to NZ is sub­ject to an as­sess­ment against Area Free­dom cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is­sued by the state and ter­ri­tory de­part­ments con­firm­ing the area’s free­dom from CGMMV. Ex­porters sourc­ing pro­duce from grow­ers and sup­pli­ers to ex­port to NZ will need to en­sure that the prop­erty of pro­duc­tion is reg­is­tered with the depart­ment and ap­proved for ex­port. This is an ad­di­tional mea­sure and all other re­quire­ments in the Aus­tralia-NZ

Bi­lat­eral Quar­an­tine Ar­range­ment and on MICoR must be ad­hered to. CGMMV is a soil-borne plant virus which af­fects cu­cur­bit crops such as wa­ter­mel­ons, pump­kins, zuc­chi­nis and cu­cum­bers, but is not harm­ful to hu­mans.

The plant virus was first de­tected in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory’s Kather­ine re­gion in 2014 and at that time caused se­vere dam­age to the $60 mil­lion wa­ter­melon in­dus­try nearly dec­i­mat­ing it, and has since been found on farms in Queens­land and West­ern Aus­tralia. A spokesper­son from the Aus­tralian Melon As­so­ci­a­tion said the in­fected fruit found in NZ came from a North­ern Ter­ri­tory farm found to have CGMMV, and the virus is ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to erad­i­cate from soil once it is present on a farm.

Aus­tralian melon ex­ports to NZ were worth $9 mil­lion in 2017, and mel­ons were Aus­tralia’s fifth largest fruit ex­port across all mar­kets with NZ be­ing their third largest mar­ket for mel­ons. In Europe this virus dis­ease was orig­i­nally de­tected in 1975 in wa­ter­melon and melon with symp­toms show­ing that the virus af­fects the young leaves with green and light green spots or yel­low-green spots. These spots have a slower de­vel­op­ment rate than the rest of the leaf and where there is heavy in­fec­tion young leaves are of­ten de­formed. The ac­tiv­ity of the virus is re­duced when the leaf ages and fruit drop (abor­tion) is com­mon. The rest of the fruit are small and over­all yield can be re­duced by 25 per­cent or more if no con­trol ac­tions are taken into ac­count. In the epi­der­mis of the sick plants char­ac­ter­is­tic struc­tures can be seen eas­ily with a mi­cro­scope. Tem­per­a­ture in­ac­ti­va­tion in juice oc­curs at 90 °C. Seed tran­si­tion of eight to 10 per­cent from the be­gin­ning, which is enough to start the silent in­fec­tion. Aphids and other suck­ing in­sects do not trans­mit the virus but with hy­dro­ponic the virus could spread out to up to 80 per­cent of the crop be­cause the roots are touch­ing.

Credit to Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia Credit to Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia Wiki­me­dia Com­mons Wiki­me­dia Com­mons ▴ Ex­am­ples of GCMMV dam­age to leaf crops.

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