New agreement makes it easier for TR4 affected farms

News release | 13-Sep-2018

Banana growers farming with Panama disease tropical race 4 (Panama TR4) and who sell fruit to New South Wales are benefitting from a new interstate fruit certification agreement.

Panama TR4 Program leader Rhiannon Evans said Biosecurity Queensland had reached an agreement with the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries to allow accredited businesses to certify their own fruit consignments.

“This will give growers greater autonomy and flexibility in responding to market access opportunities and also offer significant cost savings through reduced government inspection fees when meeting New South Wales’ quarantine entry conditions,” Ms Evans said.

“Biosecurity officers will visit farms operating under the new agreement to audit the fruit inspection process and ensure biosecurity requirements are being met.”

Ms Evans said the department was committed to cutting red tape for industry.

“We work closely with growers and the peak industry body the Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) to identify any areas where we can empower growers, without putting the wider industry at risk,” she said.

Stephen Lowe, ABGC chair, said growers welcomed the agreement and the efforts of Biosecurity Queensland.

“Growers work tirelessly to produce high-quality fruit for all Australians, often in the face of significant challenges,” Mr Lowe said.

”Anything that can simplify the process of getting produce to market - and make it more cost effective - is great news.

“Consumers can rest assured that banana growers take pride in supplying produce that meets strict food safety and biosecurity standards, so these certification responsibilities will not be taken lightly.”

The new Interstate Certification Assurance Accreditation (ICA) Operational Procedure ‘Inspection of bananas for freedom of soil and plant material’ was developed by Biosecurity Queensland in partnership with Biosecurity Solutions Australia.

Download the ICA Operational Procedure at interstatequarantine.org.au/producers/interstate-certification-assurance/queensland/

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