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No new detections on Tasmanian mainland

Tasmanian growers work through control zone challenges

Faced with new trade protocols, Tasmania's fruit, tomato and capsicum growers are working through the challenges of growing in the control zone.

For Marcus Brandsema, the impact of the Queensland fruit fly outbreaks has forced his North-West Tasmania tomato, capsicum and aubergine business to follow major protocol steps in order to continue trading.

"We are in the process of sending whatever we can to Melbourne," Marcus said. "When we pick we know there is fruit which won't stand the timeframes or the fumigation - therefore it ends up dumped."

Packing tomatoes at Brandsema's packhouse

Produce sent across Bass Strait either is sold at the markets or fumigated before returning to Tasmania for sale in the broader markets outside the control zone.

"It is a bit of a tight-rope to walk due to the timeframes involved," Marcus said.

"Ordinarily we will pick and pack on one day with customers receiving produce the following day. Now we are looking at a 5 - 6 day turn-around before we get it to our customers so that has further implications with quality all round."

Marcus said he and his family had initially felt overwhelmed when hearing of the fruit fly outbreak at Spreyton.

"We have been jumping from one fire to the next and it will be good when things settle down - even though we are still in the 3 month control zone period."

"If there wasn't the government assistance package, we would be better closing our business."

Marcus Brandsema 

Biosecurity Tasmania are continuing to work on managing the outbreaks with no new outbreaks since the initial detections at three sites on the Tasmanian mainland.

Larvae infected fruit found in a supermarket has been traced back to a fumigation chamber in Victoria operated by Australian and New Zealand producers and marketers Freshmax.

All fruit imported into the island state through Freshmax's Epping operation has been removed from supermarket shelves and returned to the mainland.

Publication date: 2/27/2018
Author: Phil Pyke
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


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