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GMV Regional Fruit Fly Project secures extension

Victoria’s Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes has announced the Goulburn Murray Valley (GMV) Regional Fruit Fly Project will be extended until 30 June, 2020.

GMV Regional Fruit Fly Coordinator Ross Abberfield said the project, which commenced in 2017, had applied a strategic approach to the Area Wide Management of the pest and successfully brought industry, community, and government together.

“Victoria’s Goulburn Murray Valley is regarded as the ‘Fruit Bowl of Australia’ and is the largest producer of pears in the southern hemisphere, so protecting this positioning is essential to the region’s economy,” Ross said.

“The challenge of curbing the spread of fruit fly is paramount to our horticulture industry.”

The project has been funded through the Managing Fruit Fly in Victoria Regional Grants Program, as part of the Victorian Government’s investment in keeping our agricultural sector secure and preventing the spread of pests and diseases.

The gross value of Australian horticulture varieties considered Queensland Fruit Fly (Qfly) hosts is approximately eleven and half billion dollars annually. The gross value of Goulburn Murray Valley (GMV) horticultural varieties which are considered a host is approximately four hundred and fifteen million dollars annually.

The GMV Regional Fruit Fly Project area of 16,354 sq km encompasses the five local government areas of Campaspe Shire, Greater Shepparton City Council, Strathbogie Shire, Moira Shire, and Berrigan Shire and covers a population of 150,067 people.

The project’s action plan objectives are to:

  1. Strengthen fruit fly management through coordination and collaboration between industry, government, and community.
  2. Improve Qfly management in commercial orchards and community areas.
  3. Support and prioritise Qfly research in the GMV region.

The project monitors between 350-400 Linfield traps in its regional trapping grid, which are read weekly from 1 October and 20 April and fortnightly from 1 July to 30 September. The data is collated, analysed and interpreted by an independent researcher who then provides monthly updates, trends, and forecasts.

Based on trapping grid data and Qfly numbers, Field Officers are deployed to targeted ‘hot spots’ and to date have completed 2,000 field reports since the project’s inception.

Other key achievements recorded by the project to date include:

  • Identification and targeted removal of more than 270ha of unmanaged orchards, assisting landholders to reduce unmanaged fruit fly habitat and removal at no cost to the landholder;
  • Removal and eradication of more than 5,500 fruit fly host trees and plants from private and public land at no cost to landowners;
  • Installation of 240 signs, banners and bollards in 37 towns across the region to improve community awareness of the pest;
  • The formation of partnerships with Lions International, Rotary International, Connect GV, Billabong Nursery and other community, industry, and government agencies.

“What we are doing is really making a difference in practical terms. It is imperative that we maintain and build on the successes we are achieving,” said Ross.

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