Berry industry signs up to biosecurity emergency response agreement

Berry industry signs up to biosecurity emergency response agreement

The raspberry and blackberry industry has become the latest plant industry to sign up to the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (EPPRD), providing certainty for growers in the event of an incursion of a serious exotic pest that affects berries.

Raspberries and Blackberries Australia (RABA) signed the EPPRD, seeing it as a significant step in securing the viability and sustainability of the industry.

RABA Executive Officer, Jonathan Eccles said that the move shows how far the industry has matured.

“The raspberry and blackberry industry is one of the fastest growing horticulture industries in Australia,” Mr Eccles said.

“Becoming a party to the EPPRD provides a certain amount of security for our industry and for our growers. We know how any serious exotic plant pest incursion will be dealt with, and we, the peak industry body for growers, will have a say in any response.”

“I’ve seen first-hand the problems that one exotic pest, spotted winged drosophila, causes in other places such as the US, and we definitely don’t want the expense of having to deal with it here. In addition to the cost of managing a new pest like that, the industry currently has very low use of pesticides and it’d be great to keep it that way,” he added.

Dr Susanna Driessen, General Manager for Emergency Preparedness and Response at Plant Health Australia, custodians of the EPPRD, welcomed RABA to the agreement. “The EPPRD, which has been in place since 2005, has proven an effective way of dealing with emergency plant pest incursions,” Dr Driessen said.

“With quarantine restrictions being the first thing that happens in an incursion, it gives Australia the best chance of eradicating anything new.”

“It’s an important step for RABA because signing up to the agreement puts the industry in the best position to deal with emergency plant pests, working in collaboration with government and other industries.”

“There are now 31 plant industries that are parties to the EPPRD, giving great coverage for Australia’s crops, and only a few industries still out in the cold,” Dr Driessen added.

First published in Leading Agriculture Issue 10

The Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed can be found here.