NZ Grower Article - February 2017

NZ Grower Article - February 2017

Early Detection - Our Second Line of Defence

Vegetables New Zealand Inc.’s (VNZ Inc.) main goal under the Government Industry Agreement for Biosecurity (GIA) is to keep new pests (including diseases) out of New Zealand.  But we know that despite our best efforts there is the possibility that some may get past the border and be found in New Zealand – as was the case with the Pea Weevil.

We want to be far better prepared for any new pests by creating a second line of defence – you!  As growers, seed suppliers, crop protection suppliers or advisors, crop monitors, or scientists you are regularly in crops looking for things that are out of the ordinary. 

Monitoring crops for signs and symptoms of pests is something growers do on a daily basis.  This may be as simple as a walk through the crop, or part of a more formal scheduled IPM threshold monitoring programme.  Part of our minimum commitments under GIA is to raise awareness of biosecurity amongst our grower members and others engaged in the vegetable industry and to ensure everyone is aware they are part of the solution to pest incursions via monitoring, vigilance and being aware of what to be on the look-out for.  This greatly increases the chance that we can eradicate these pests before they establish.

VNZ Inc. wants you to be aware of key pests of concern to the vegetable industry and to report suspect symptoms.  In order to support growers and others with regards to vegetable pests to watch for, VNZ Inc. contracted Market Access Solutionz Ltd to identify significant pests and develop pest fact sheets.  Fact sheets are being developed for pests that are the most likely to enter New Zealand and/or would have the most significant economic impact on vegetable growers.  They provide details on what to look for and what to do if growers find anything unusual, or suspect there may be a new pest or disease that has entered New Zealand. 

VNZ Inc. wants you to add these pests to your general surveillance activities as part of our minimum commitments to GIA.  The purpose of surveillance from both a grower’s perspective and the obligation under the GIA agreement are much the same, that is, to notice anything different or unusual that needs to be monitored or responded to before it’s too late to effectively eradicate or contain.

Although fact sheets have been developed for some of the pests most likely to enter New Zealand, potential incursions are not limited to this group, so vigilance in identifying anything unusual is prudent during monitoring and surveillance activities.

It is envisaged growers will be the main audience for these pest fact sheets however, there are others in the industry such as crop protection suppliers or advisors, agronomists, crop monitors or scientists that would benefit from an awareness of the pests and what to look out for.  Also, all those involved in the industry need to know that in the event of detecting any unusual pest or plant symptom, they should call the MPI EXOTIC PEST AND DISEASE HOTLINE 0800 80 99 66.

Full versions of the pest fact sheets can be found at https://www.freshvegetables.co.nz/biosecurity/biosecurity resources/fact sheets and exotic pests