Queensland has taken a community-based approach to managing the fruit fly problem, to be piloted in the Bundaberg Region.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, Mark Furner, said the Palaszczuk government would be delivering on its election commitment by investing up to $200,000 into the start-up stage of a pilot program headed by Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers (BFVG).
Minister Furner said the trial’s aim was to reduce the impacts of fruit fly on horticulture productivity in the Bundaberg region.
“While there is ongoing fruit fly research focused on producers, this additional and innovative targeted commitment will specifically focus on educating the urban community about how they can play a part in keeping this endemic pest in check,” Mr Furner said.
"When unchecked, fruit fly infestations have a serious impact on harvestable fruit and vegetable crops and are detrimental to export efforts. Interstate projects have shown that urban communities play a key role in helping monitor fruit fly numbers and providing an early alert to producers.
“This trial isn’t where our partnership with BFVG ends, the government will also provide up to $200 000 to conduct a pilot trial in regional agriculture data collection in the region.”
He said that BFVG raised the issue during stakeholder meetings, highlighting the need for additional agricultural data that wasn’t being captured in existing reports.
“By delivering greater accuracy for the local sector this will allow looking producers to obtain investment and open new opportunities both at the state, national and overseas levels.”
BFVG's managing director, Bree Grima, said they were thrilled with today’s announcement.
“Queensland fruit fly is the single biggest barrier to many producers in the Wide Bay Region accessing additional market opportunities and whilst many funded programs have focused on grower engagement this program is innovative in its approach by connecting with the urban environment,” she said.
“The community can play a vital role in assisting our producers to manage the impacts of fruit fly and this program will connect the consumers with the producers to help close that loop.”