The Victorian Fruit-fly Action Plan is a welcome tool in the bottle to supress a pest that costs Victorian fruit growers $300 million annually in lost production and reduced markets, State Member for Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed said today.
Speaking to local fruit producers such as Fruit-fly Taskforce chair Peter Hall at the launch of the plan at Tatura’s Horticulture Centre of Excellence, Ms Sheed said growers’ bottom lines would be reflected in the success of a regional action plan mandated by the new state-wide approach.
She said all homeowners could be guided by the plan to contribute to fruit-fly management.
“As a community it’s an urban problem as well as an issue for the fruit growers,” Ms Sheed said.
“Fruit-fly is as much a problem in the pomegranate tree in my backyard as it is in Peter’s orchard.”
Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford acknowledged the case put by Ms Sheed and northern Victorian fruit growers for an urgent and comprehensive approach to fruit-fly management.
In announcing the action plan Ms Pulford said: “Suzanna Sheed and I have had a number of discussions about the need to manage the problem more efficiently; this plan sets out what we need to be doing next.’’
Ms Sheed also welcomed the government’s acknowledgement of the need for innovation in horticulture through the $1 million Horticulture Innovation Fund.
“This opportunity is particularly relevant for my electorate, where growers are already embracing change through new technology and new fruit varieties to appeal to diverse international markets,” Ms Sheed said.
The fund will grant $50,000 each to projects designed to improve farm performance, increase market access and initiate diversification in the sector.
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