National Fruit Fly Strategy seeks input on fruit fly priorities

Industries that are affected by fruit fly have been invited to contribute suggestions on the top fruit fly priorities by the National Fruit Fly Strategy Advisory Committee (NFFS – AC) that has been established by Plant Health Australia.

The National Fruit Fly Strategy (NFFS) is a national initiative aimed at improving Australia’s management of fruit fly, the world’s most economically significant horticultural pest.

Sterile insect programs like this Queensland fruit fly research at Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute are part of the solution, Image courtesy of PHA.

Sterile insect programs like this Queensland fruit fly research at Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute are part of the solution, Image courtesy of PHA.

According to Rod Turner, Plant Health Australia’s General Manager for Risk Management, national management is the best way to tackle fruit flies because the pest affects a wide range of crops and all states and territories which either need to manage fruit flies or try to keep them out of regions.

“The NFFS – AC is making headway on a range of projects that will come together to improve management nationally and across industries,” Mr Turner said.

“One project that’s underway as part of the work of the NFFS – AC is to assemble a broad overview of industry priorities in fruit fly and plant biosecurity RD&E and an indication of whether there are any issues which are priorities for multiple industries,” Mr Turner added.

“The information about priority areas will be matched against current R&D funding. This will allow us to evaluate the effectiveness of research in this area. We’ll be able to see if there are gaps or overlaps and can then make recommendations about how to alter RD&E funding to more appropriately meet industry’s needs.”

Industry bodies will be asked to identify their top RD&E priorities in plant biosecurity but growers are invited to contribute their views. You can contact the committee at NFFSAC_admin@phau.com.au, and soon there will be a discussion page on the committee’s website at portal.biosecurityportal.org.au .

The information gathered during this consultation process will also contribute to the work of the National Plant Biosecurity RD&E Strategy Implementation Committee which has been tasked with improving plant biosecurity RD&E more broadly. Since sustainable management of fruit fly is of central concern to Australia’s $6.9 billion horticultural industries, which capitalise on both domestic and international trade, fruit fly research priorities form an important part of the overall plant biosecurity research strategy.

The aim of the NFFS is to develop a viable, cost-effective and sustainable national approach to fruit fly management, with commitment from all stakeholders. The strategy applies to all native and exotic species of fruit fly and across the contemporary biosecurity continuum—from pre-border to farm level.

The NFFS - AC was established in May 2014 to enact the NFFS. The committee does this by providing national policy oversight of issues relating to endemic and exotic fruit fly management issues, improving efficiency of the fruit fly management system and identifying opportunities for investment in research, development and extension that has support from all stakeholders.

Activities will:

  • Enhance a national strategic response to fruit fly incursions.

  • Support access to current markets for Australian produce and contribute to new market opportunities.

  • Ensure new initiatives that will minimise impacts of endemic fruit flies on production are considered and developed.

  • Ensure that Australia is prepared for any exotic fruit fly incursion.