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Fruit Fly threatens $4 billion export industry

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Published on : Jan 28, 2014


New Zealand’s fourth largest export earner mainly depends on the fruits and vegetables. However, according to recent news, this industry is undergoing a long nervous wait after the insect was trapped and collected from a nearby port named Whangarei’s port last week. The insect has formally been identified as a single Queensland Fruit Fly in Northland – crop destruction pest in the region, according to Horticulture NZ. This aspect is grave in New Zealand and has resulted in a block of exports regarding fruit and vegetables in the overseas market. 

This is an anxious time for all the horticultural industry exporters and growers, said the president of HortNZ – Julian Raine. The response is watched real closely regarding this issue and has been provided adequate advice and support to the Ministry as well in places where the company can reach to. Nonetheless, the risk that is posed to New Zealand’s $4 billion horticulture industry branches in two directions. For one, the growers noticed that their crops were destroyed by the harmful pest, and two, the exporters witnessed their international markets refused to buy any of the Kiwi products for further business. 

The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) confirmed that it has been investigating about the Queensland fruit fly in the Parihaka area, and some additional traps too have been set up to capture the insect and destroy it completely. 

The most important part of this drill is to find out whether the insect is a solitary find or just growing in a wider population in the region of Whangarei, said MPI’s Andrew Coleman. The insect has the capability of damaging a wide range of vegetables and fruits. 

MPI has restricted a controlled movement of vegetables and fruits. According to Mr Coleman, the most certain way of fruit fly entering into New Zealand is in fresh vegetables and fruits. Hence, the importation of all fruits should be stopped until the source on the fly is detected, said Mr O’Connor. 

Damien O’Connor – The Labour’s biosecurity spokesman said that the fly showed that New Zealand’s bio-systems are failing. And this aspect could cost millions to completely eradicate the pests if there are more in the region. 

According to MPI, the pests have been detected three times in the past in the Whangarei in the years 1995 and in Auckland in the years 1996 and 2012. In all these cases, the increased surveillance found no signs of the Queensland fruit fly. To this day, MPI has set 7500 traps nationwide and checked them regularly. 


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