The coordinated control of fruit fly will continue in the Goulburn Murray Valley (GMV) after the Minister for Agriculture, Jaclyn Symes recently announced a commitment to provide future funding for management of the pest.
The funding will see a 12 month extension to a suite of control and management measures delivered through the Goulburn Murray Valley Fruit Fly Area Wide Management Project across five Council areas, to stop the spread of fruit fly.
Goulburn Murray Valley Fruit Fly Area Wide Management Governance Group Chair, Tony Siciliano said the funding demonstrated the Victorian Government’s commitment to protecting Victoria’s horticultural future.
“This funding is vital to the region’s horticultural industry and has been welcomed by fruit and vegetable growers across the region,” Mr Siciliano said.
“The GMV is the largest pear producer in the southern hemisphere, the Murray Valley is the nation’s largest stone fruit producer and the GMV produces nearly half of the nation’s apples, given this positioning pest control is a key aspect to the success of our industry,” Mr Siciliano said.
The Victorian Government is working in tandem with growers who spend nearly $4 million annually to manage on farm pests and a further $1 million on levies to advance research and development, along with marketing activities.
“Without this funding the coordinated control of fruit fly would cease and we would return to the situation we faced before the Victorian Government took the initiative and introduced a five year strategic plan to manage fruit fly,” Mr Siciliano said.
“Without it, you would see a 60 per cent increase in fruit fly numbers that would impact production, exports, domestic sales and jobs, without a doubt,” he said.
“This funding is the driver in the delivery of our Action Plan, it will provide resources to continue to create awareness, education and engagement in the community, industry and local government, which is necessary in moving the community to take ownership of this issue.”
Goulburn Murray Valley Fruit Fly Area Wide Management Governance Group Member and Toolamba orchardist Peter Hall welcomed the funding announcement but stressed the importance of a long-term commitment to controlling the spread of fruit fly.
“This has been a very successful partnership between community, local and state government and it is important that funding for activities that can only be carried out by government are secured and put in place for a much longer time period in 1 July 2020 order to protect the long term future of our horticulture industry,” Mr Hall said.
Residents, growers and government agencies will be encouraged to Pick, Prune and Protect, together with purchasing traps, baits, netting and undertaking the removal of unmanaged and unwanted fruit trees as part of the area wide management of the pest.
Taking in the five council areas of Campaspe, Greater Shepparton, Moira, Strathbogie and Berrigan, the GMV Fruit Fly Area Wide Management Project provides a coordinated approach to the area wide management of the pest.
The project is funded by the Victorian Government’s Managing Fruit Fly Regional Grants Program.