NZ Grower Article - October 2017
Making it work behind the scenes...
There has been a lot of talk around signing up to GIA and minimum commitments but what actually are minimum commitments and what is being done to meet them? The following are 4 of the areas where VNZI is working behind the scenes to meet minimum commitments and be as prepared as possible in the event of an exotic pest find that has potential to affect growers’ livelihoods.
Biosecurity Awareness Campaign
VNZI has been raising awareness amongst its grower members of the biosecurity system and farm biosecurity best practices in a number of ways, including regular communications in this magazine. A Biosecurity Management Plan has been developed that captures all biosecurity information and processes in one place including a list of potential priority pests that may enter New Zealand and have an impact on growers. VNZI has also contracted Market Access Solutionz to develop fact sheets for some of the exotic priority pests that are the most likely to enter New Zealand and/or would have the most significant economic impact on growers. These fact sheets can be found – put in link (or web address).
Development of Communication Protocols
Developing communication protocols includes planning how information is to be disseminated to growers as well as how communications are managed efficiently at the Board level and with other stakeholders to enhance biosecurity awareness and in the event of an incursion. A crucial part of the communication process is the ability to quickly identify relevant groups that need to be kept updated and having their contact details available at the push of a button. This means information can be sent to relevant groups including growers extremely quickly and if necessary growers will be able to provide information in return.
Establishing Key Roles and Responsibilities
Within your industry body, people have been identified to take on roles and responsibilities prior to and in the event of an exotic pest incursion response. Identifying individuals and them knowing what to do prior to an incursion enables a quicker response at the time it is really needed. This includes things such as:
- biosecurity planning and implementation
- liaising with government on trade issues
- funding and supporting biosecurity initiatives
- participating in committees and response efforts
Although much of this work is not visible it will be valuable at the time it is needed most!
VNZI has also developed a biosecurity survey. The purpose of the survey is to benchmark where growers are at with regards to their understanding of biosecurity. Depending on the results from this survey a training programme may be developed for growers to provide additional information and guidance around Biosecurity Best Practice.