Western Australian apples and pears soon to be free of pest trade restrictions

Western Australian apple and pear growers caught up in trade restrictions relating to the recent exotic pest Tomato Potato Psyllid (TPP) outbreak will soon be able to trade interstate again.

An in-principle agreement that apple and pear fruit do not represent a risk of carrying TPP, provided they are free of leafy material, was reached at a meeting in Adelaide earlier this month, which included representatives from the Commonwealth and jurisdictions, Plant Health Australia, AusVeg, PomeWest and representatives from other WA industries similarly affected. It is expected that SA, Victoria and NSW will amend entry conditions soon and growers are advised to check the latest interstate trade requirements on state department websites linked below.

The psyllid, which is native to the south west of North America, was detected for the first time in Australia in Western Australia in early February 2017. It affects potatoes, tomato, eggplant, capsicum, chilli, tamarillo, sweet potato and goji berry. There have been many subsequent detections and TPP has now been deemed ineradicable. The Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA) is now focusing its efforts on management instead of eradication.

Despite apples and pears not being an affected industry under the EPPRD (Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed), Western Australian apple and pear growers effectively found themselves locked out of interstate trade as some states took extra precautions over concerns apples and pears might be potential carriers of TPP.

An agreement to place apples and pears in a new category and recognise they were a non-TPP carrier was heralded by industry as ‘major progress’, but states are still working through arrangements to allow trade to resume.

If growers have crops that are ready for immediate export, they can apply for an import permit from the receiving state. These permit requests are to be sent to the DAFWA Market Access team: TPP- marketAccess@agric.wa.gov.au.

Full details of the entry conditions are updated on the NSW, Victorian and South Australian department websites.

source: apal.org.au

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