Strong case for more investment in biosecurity prevention

Overview

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New data demonstrates that for every $1 invested in pest prevention, $100 is returned to the community.*

That’s the key take-home from NGIA’s National Biosecurity Manager John McDonald, who spoke about ‘Reducing the biosecurity risk in plant production’ at this year’s Hort Connections conference in Adelaide.

The presentation focussed on three key areas:

  • The national exposure – off-farm and on-farm factors that are placing pressure on horticultural supply chains
  • Prevention – as a means of providing the greatest return to industry
  • BioSecure HACCP – an on-farm biosecurity program for production nurseries.

Mr McDonald says the world is seeing an unprecedented amount of people, plant and product moving from country to country, which is dramatically increasing the number of pathways for the entry of plant pests.

In 2016 alone, over 30 new plant pests arrived on Australian shores. This year, the most high profile has been the tomato potato psyllid affecting crops in Western Australia.

And while not all are flagged as ‘emergency’ pests, they are new pests that industry must manage if they are to continue growing the host plants.

What’s this mean for industry?

The nursery industry is one of the most exposed, most diverse supply chains in horticulture; from potting media suppliers, to production nurseries, right through to fruit and vegetable growers, forestry and major greenlife retailers.

Mr McDonald says the growing number of threats is placing pressure on our biosecurity resources.

The ability to manage the risk and spread of pests and diseases – both internally and externally – is absolutely critical for production nurseries.

BioSecure HACCP

BioSecure HACCP is a program for industry, developed by industry. It equips growers with the tools, processes and skills to effectively manage biosecurity risks in the 21st century.

The program enables production nurseries to put in place a solid system which builds in prevention, assessment and best practice management should an issue arise, with the added benefit of self-certification for market access.

It is based on holistic pest management; everything from pesticide training right through to self-regulating as a means to streamline trade without compromising the safety or quality of a product.

It is also the foundation system for managing endemic plant pests which growers have to deal with on a day to day basis.

Can this future proof our industry?

Prevention is key – and it pays off, Mr McDonald says.

Businesses certified under BioSecure HACCP are seeing substantial productivity gains by reducing their pesticide use, throw out rates and labour costs.

With more States coming on board to formally recognise the program as a means of interstate trade, this is only going to strengthen the supply chain.

Visit http://nurseryproductionfms.com.au/ to find out more information, or to download the BioSecure HACCP manual.

*National biosecurity investment stocktake (2014-15 data), as provided to the intergovernmental National Biosecurity Committee

Project Code: NY15004

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