Biosecurity is fast becoming an accepted part of any agricultural business. The arrival of Varroa mite late last month, first detected around Newcastle, has fuelled concerns amongst Australia’s almond producers who are predicting that it could cost the industry tens of millions. Varroa mite is an external parasite of honey bees and is considered the greatest threat pollination plant industries face. Meanwhile, the livestock industry has several potentially devastating diseases on its doorstep with foot-and-mouth disease recently having been detected in Indonesia, and well as lumpy skin disease steadily moving through South-East Asia.
Australian Grape & Wine continues to advocacte for better biosecurity controls at the nation’s border. In an article published in the Financial Review, The Department of Agriculture confirmed “Australia is seeing higher volumes of incoming cargo and global spread of significant pests and diseases such as Japanese encephalitis virus, foot-and-mouth disease, lumpy skin disease, khapra beetle and the varroa destructor mite”. At the same time, pressures at ports due to workforce shortages and other shipping issues are causing inspection delays of up to four weeks.
Biosecurity is a shared responsibility of Government and industry with industry’s role being about ensuring good biosecurity practices on their own property so as to reduce spread of pests and disease within the nation’s borders. Two of our highest priority pests Phylloxera and Xylella often lay asymptomatic for several years post-infection, so reducing transmission pathways should be a priority regardless of the presence of symptoms.