A fruit fly outbreak in Australia’s major banana growing regions could be devastating for the $600m industry.
The most damaging pest affecting horticulture more broadly, fruit flies have a wide variety of hosts, spread rapidly and have severe, ongoing impacts on both production and industry reputation.
In 1995, Oriental fruit fly established near Cairns, costing more than $33 million and four years to eradicate successfully. Any new infestation would also require expensive quarantine and eradication measures – funded, at least in part, by industry.
As part of a National Management Group (NMG), the Australian Banana Growers’ Council has agreed to a new Response Plan for Exotic Fruit Fly in the Torres Strait to reduce this risk.
Over the period from 2018-2021, it aims to eradicate the annual incursion of three fruit fly species from this area – Zeugodacus cucurbta, Bactrocera dorsalis and B.trivialis. The ABGC will invest $50,000 over three years as part of a total cost-shared budget of more than $1.6m.
This is to ensure we do our part in protecting the national horticulture industry.
Experts have agreed it is both possible and cost beneficial to continue with the eradication process.
The new Response Plan builds on the approach in place since 1996.