FIGHTING BACK: A new levy on fruitgrowers will likely be introduced to combat citrus canker disease, which was detected in the Northern Territory in 2018 and spread to Western Australia. Photo: Contributed
FIGHTING BACK: A new levy on fruitgrowers will likely be introduced to combat citrus canker disease, which was detected in the Northern Territory in 2018 and spread to Western Australia. Photo: Contributed

Levy on growers to combat citrus canker likely

THE CEO of Citrus Australia has told North Burnett fruitgrowers to expect a new levy next year to help pay for the response to an outbreak of citrus canker in the Northern Territory last year.

Speaking at the Queensland Post-Season Regional Forum in Mundubbera yesterday, Nathan Hancock said it’s likely a levy of $1.05/tonne would be introduced on all citrus would be introduced from January 1, 2020, and would remain in place for three – four years, raising about $3 – $4 million.

It would be collected in the same way as other levies on growers.

He said the outbreak, which spread to Western Australia but has since been eradicated in that state, was a “big wakeup call” for the industry and they would need to “hone (their) approach” for future disease outbreaks.

Mr Hancock said a new response plan which had recently been approved aimed to have the disease eradicated by December 2020.

At the forum, Mr Hancock also highlighted the “shrinking availability of agrochemicals” available to growers.

He said his organisation was lobbying hard to “keep as many in our toolbox as we can”.

He discussed a recent trip to Spain, where he viewed large orchards of up to five hectares which had introduced pheromone trapping of pests with great success in controlling mealybugs and red scale.

“We know it’s very different environment to here, but they have had very, very good success,” he said.

“It has been so successful in reducing agrochemicals, they have seen a huge influx in natural predators (of pest insects).

“We want to bring some of that technology into Australia as quickly as possible.”


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