Protecting industry growth
NZ Avocado continues to undertake work to secure the future of the New Zealand avocado industry by collaboratively preparing for and effectively responding to pest incursions.
Like all primary production sectors, the New Zealand avocado industry is under the constant threat from exotic plant pests and diseases. Passengers, cargo and even the wind creates opportunities for foreign pest introductions. A continuous effort of looking offshore to understand emerging risks, evaluating risk pathways and evolving the surveillance systems set up to detect new threats, helps protect the industry and its valuable trade agreements. The recent fruit fly response in Auckland has proven the value of an early warning system, a swift response and has highlighted the level of investment that is required to prepare for and sustain an effective biosecurity system.
NZ Avocado continues to engage with researchers, other industry groups, councils and central government to prevent and prepare for new pest incursions. The Government Industry Agreement for Biosecurity Readiness and Response (GIA) is a biosecurity partnership that formalises joint decision-making and cost-sharing. This ensures that industry organisations have a formal role alongside government in managing their biosecurity risks while also creating the platform and relationships needed to engage in the wider biosecurity system.
For established pests, the avocado industry relies on AvoGreen® an industry pest monitoring and management programme. AvoGreen® has evolved beyond a simple IPM programme for responsible spray use to be a pest management system that’s recognised within international trade agreements. The AvoGreen system has dual benefits by also providing an early warning system where trained pest monitors can readily share observations of unusual pests or disease symptoms.
As global trade increases, industries alongside government will need to invest in new ways of detecting and responding to pests. Technology at the border, surveillance systems post border and advances in sustainable control options will need to keep pace with rapidly changing trade dynamics and the global spread of high impact pests and diseases.
For information on the NZ Avocado biosecurity strategies please download the below.
Everyone involved in the avocado industry has a role in protecting New Zealand from biosecurity threats
Members of the industry are best placed to notice unusual insects or disease symptoms and provide early warning. If you do see something suspicious, please take a photo TELL SOMEONE and ensure you GET AN ANSWER of what it might be. This could be as simple as your consultant, packhouse liaison or sharing it with NZ Avocado or through the First Detector Facebook page
The MPI Exotic Pests and Disease Pest Hotline 0800 80 99 66 is also available 24 hours to confidentially report suspected pests.
The Biosecurity Levy
In March 2019 the avocado Biosecurity Response Levy Order came into force as the agreed mechanism to fund significant industry response costs. The default levy rate will be set at zero with the levy only being activated as a result of the industry having to re-pay its agreed share of response costs under the Government Industry Agreement.
The maximum rate the Biosecurity Act levy is 0.25% of the sale price for avocados sold on the local market; and 5 cents per tray equivalent on export avocados. The mechanism for collecting and paying the levy is the same process as the industry’s commodity levy. The NZAGA Executive will be responsible for activating the Biosecurity Levy and setting an appropriate rate of levy (up to the agreed maximum).
Previous use of the levy
A fruit fly response during 2019 lead to the avocado industry needing to pay its share of response costs. On the 21st June 2019, the NZAGA Executive set the levy rate at half the maximum at 0.125% for New Zealand market avocados; and 2.5 cents per tray equivalent for export avocados. Levy collection began on 7th September 2019 and ended on 30th April 2020 reverting back to a default rate of zero.
Science at work – Protecting Plants
The International Year of Plant Health 2020 aims to raise awareness of the importance and impacts of plant health on global issues such as hunger, poverty, climate change, and economic development. Watch this video from MPI’s Plant Health and Environment Laboratory (PHEL) about how the New Zealand biosecurity system is working to protect plant health.
Biosecurity protects avocados
I absolutely love growing such a nutritious, delicious fruit. I love New Zealand and I love my family, especially my grandchildren. The future of all three of these things is at risk if pests and diseases get into New Zealand. Check out our video from Dave Flett, a Bay of Plenty avocado grower, and learn how you can do your bit to keep enjoying avocados.