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Ελληνικη Ραδιοφωνια τηλεοραση




Financial blow to growers from fruit fly outbreak


February 2021

There are fears an outbreak of Queensland fruit fly in South Australia could be devastating for the horticulture industry, with some growers unable to move stone fruit during their harvest period.

According to the ABC Riverland, Fruit fly larvae were found in a backyard apricot tree in Renmark West on Tuesday, leading to Primary Industries Minister David Basham declaring an outbreak.

A 15-kilometre exclusion zone that includes Berri, Yamba, Renmark, Paringa, Monash and Calperum Station has been set up around the site.

Varying levels of restrictions apply to the movement of fruit inside the zone, with growers encouraged not to move any product off their properties until the scale of the problem can be better judged.

A smaller 1.5km outbreak area covering Renmark, Renmark West, Renmark South and Crescent has also been declared.

SA is the only mainland state with fruit fly-free status and there is a longstanding ban in place on interstate visitors bringing fresh fruit and fruiting vegetables into the state, as well as intrastate travellers bringing fruit into the Riverland region.

Riverland growers are in the peak of stone fruit season and are expecting a bumper crop while they battle to cope with the labour shortage brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

SAís horticulture industry is worth $1.3 billion and the Riverland is the stateís biggest fruit-producing region.

Summerfruit SA chair Jason Size said the recent outbreak could be a major financial blow for producers.

"For some growers it could mean the end of their business, in terms of finding it really hard to move product," he said.

"So it can be very serious from that point of view and the ramification from that is unemployment.

He added the proximity of the outbreak to the Renmark township was particularly concerning to the industry.

"This is the first time in a long time, if ever, that itís been in the Renmark township, so itís going to be very challenging going forward because growers are going into unknown territory," he said.

"There are a lot more households, there are a lot more people confined in that sort of area ó so it makes it more challenging, but not impossible."

The State Government is gauging whether the outbreak has spread to other properties.

The active outbreak and exclusion zones are expected to stay in place until at least March 15, although this could be extended if more wild flies or larvae are discovered.

Minister David Basham said Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA) staff would be stationed throughout the region to instruct growers on how to deal with the outbreak.

Greek Tribune



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