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Cucumber green mottle mosaic virus could have entered Queensland through imported seeds – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

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Ccucumber green mottle virus could have entered Queensland through imported seeds

 

Posted 3 May 2017, 3:18pmWed 3 May 2017, 3:18pm

Biosecurity authorities are trying to figure out how a fruit and vegetable rotting disease broke out in Queensland, but have initial suspicions it was through imported seed.

Farmers from the Bundaberg region are angry cucumber green mottle mosaic virus (CGMMV) has recently been discovered on five local properties, owned by two growers.

CGMMV causes internal rot and discolouration in some cucurbit family fruit and vegetables, and its discovery comes months after an outbreak of white spot disease decimated the aquaculture industry in south-east Queensland.

Biosecurity Queensland spokesman Mike Ashton said the virus was not harmful to humans, but could ravage parts of the agriculture industry if a widespread outbreak occurs.

He said there was a possibility the virus was brought onto the infected farms by imported seeds.

That is considering the businesses operate independently and do not share personnel and equipment.

“That kind of increases the risk that perhaps it was seed that was the source of the introduction,” he said.

“It’s highly unlikely that we’ll ever be able to pinpoint exactly how it got introduced.”

“We’re certainly doing tracing investigations to try and identify the source.”

Farmers like Gino Marcon are angry there has been an outbreak of another virus, and are switching to less risky crops.

Mr Marcon normally grows a wide range of vegetables on his farm, but this year, he is only growing tomatoes to avoid CGMMV.

“We’ve actually stopped growing cucumbers, we’ve sort of got a wait-and-see attitude at the moment,” Mr Marcon said.

“We’re a bit worried that the disease may affect our zucchini production, so we’ve switched over to 100 per cent tomato production in our greenhouses.”

He blamed biosecurity authorities for the outbreak.

“We’ve lost confidence in the system and that’s the biosecurity system,” Mr Marcon said.

“We think it’s not broken, it’s shredded to bits. It’s simply not working.

“I think the whole system needs to be overhauled, we’re not getting value for money for the money being allocated to biosecurity.

“[Politicians] need to look long and hard at the whole system and change it.”

Mr Ashton rejects the allegation that the system has failed.

“We have managed to restrict the disease to a very small number of properties in Queensland,” he said.

“Unlike the Northern Territory and increasingly so in Western Australia where the disease has become quite established.”

There have been previous outbreaks of CGMMV in the Territory and WA, and an isolated case at Charters Towers in North Queensland in 2015.

Biosecurity Queensland hope the Charters Towers farm will be declared clear of the virus later this year.

The Federal Agriculture Department introduced mandatory imported seed testing to try and combat CGMMV in 2014.

In a statement, the department said it uses a sample size more than four times the size (9,400 seeds) than that used internationally (2,000).

It said that gave a high level of confidence in the results.

Topics: pest-management, rural, quarantine, crop-harvesting, agricultural-policy, vegetables, activism-and-lobbying, agricultural-crops, fruit, fruits, bundaberg-4670, qld

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fresh plaza logo

The Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has released an Industry Advice Notice (IAN) advising that New Zealand has suspended imports of Australian rockmelons and honeydew melons that have been treated with dimethoate. This suspension is effective immediately.

Summary of changes and key points:

  • The New Zealand National Plant Protection Organisation has advised that, effective immediately, they will no longer be accepting consignments of rockmelons or honeydew melons that have been treated with dimethoate.
  • The suspension includes consignments that are currently in transit.
  • The department will not be issuing certification with EXDOC endorsement 1646 for rockmelons or EXDOC endorsement 3576 for honeydew melons.
  • Exports sourced from pest-free areas are still permitted.

source: foodprocessing.com.au

Publication date: 4/12/2017

 

 

 

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This week we’ve been reporting from the 12th session of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures, which successfully drew to a close, having produced concrete tools to support plant protection through the adoption of 25 International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs). Under the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS […]

via CPM-12 adopts a record number of new tools for protecting plants from pest spread — The Plantwise Blog

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The 12th Session of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures opened today in Incheon, Republic of Korea. This is significant as it is the first time that the event is being hosted outside of Rome by a member country of the International Plant Protection Convention. This year’s theme is “Plant Health and Trade Facilitation”, so this topic […]

via Landmark Phytosanitary meeting CPM-12 kicks off in Incheon, Republic of Korea — The Plantwise Blog

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Farm Press Blog

It was interesting to read the commentary from my colleague Hembree Brandon quoting Mike McCormick, president of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, on the impact of the boll weevil.

That’s because my family has its own boll weevil story. In 1926, my grandfather left St. Francis County, Ark., and moved 50 miles north to get away from the pest. No one knew how to control it, and it was literally eating them out of house and home.

They returned two years later after someone determined they could kill the boll weevil by spraying or “dusting” with insecticides such as calcium arsenate, also known as Black Annie.

McCormick’s comments about the dispersal of families in his part of Mississippi due to the pest came at a meeting of the Mississippi Boll Weevil Management Corporation and Farm Bureau Cotton Policy Committee where they celebrated another weevil-free year.

 

Those familiar with the industry know cotton farmers raised millions of dollars and coupled that with government funding to eradicate the boll weevil from all but the southernmost part of the Cotton Belt.  (It’s too bad we can’t build a wall to keep the boll weevil south of the border.)

The irony is that if the boll weevil was as prevalent today as it was in the 1980s, there’s no guarantee cotton producers and entomologists could eradicate the pest.

For openers, the political will needed to unite all the disparate elements of agriculture and government to fund such a program may no longer exist. And there’s the possibility malathion, the insecticide that was the workhorse of the boll weevil eradication effort, would not be available to complete it.

EPA is currently conducting a review of several organophosphate insecticides, including chlorpyrifos (Lorsban). There are concerns the use of EPA’s “water model” to determine the impact of chlorpyrifos rather than real-world scientific data could spill over into reviews of other OPs such as malathion.

Public health officials are worried about the latter because malathion is used extensively in mosquito abatement programs. Canceling the registration for a product that could be critical to battling the Zika virus would be a significant loss to fearmongering by environmental activists.

For more information on cotton issues, visit www.cotton.org.

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Business world

Economy

Posted on December 10, 2015 08:24:00 PM

Supreme Court ruling on GMO use draws ‘concern’ from rice institute

THE LOS BAÑOS-BASED International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has expressed “concern” after the Supreme Court (SC) suspended the use of genetically modified organisms (GMO) on Tuesday.

A rice farmer prepares for planting. — AFP

In a statement sent to BinessWorld, the IRRI expressed reservations about the ruling, concern it said was based on “the best scientific knowledge and evidence.”

Yet, in response to BusinessWorld’s queries how it affects the development of better rice varieties at the institute, the statement read: “We, of course, remain committed to abiding by the laws and regulations of the Philippines and of every country in which we do collaborative research.”

As soon as the institute obtains the full copy of the SC decision, it said it will read it carefully “to take stock of all implications” on biotechnological research.

One of the products that may be affected by the SC’s unanimous Tuesday ruling is Golden Rice, a genetically engineered variety developed at the IRRI.

The rice strain was designed to produce beta-carotene (pro-vitamin A) and address vitamin A deficiency, which may lead to blindness and thousands of deaths among children.

“It is the poorest and most vulnerable groups, especially women and children, whose health and well-being are most negatively affected by the scourge of micronutrient deficiency,” the IRRI noted.

The SC en banc, voting unanimously on Tuesday, expanded the Court of Appeals’ writ of kalikasan order that permanently stopped the field trials of Bt talong, a GM eggplant engineered with a bacterium to deter pest insects.

Besides affirming the stopping of Bt talong testing, the SC halted the use, testing, propagation, commercialization and importation of GMOs after it nullified the Department of Agriculture’s regulating GMO use.

It ordered the use of GMOs “temporarily” stopped until the Agriculture department promulgates new rules that will more sufficiently comply with the country’s biosafety framework and international protocols.

The SC in that decision cited the lack of scientific certainty in stopping GMO use, saying that it had to rule in the benefit of the environment amid the lack of safety guarantees.

Greenpeace Philippines, which petitioned the end to Bt talong trials, hailed the decision as a “victory for the Filipino people” but did not issue a statement. — Vince Alvic Alexis F. Nonato

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http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-07/ntch-quarantine-sign-on-mitchell-curtis27-farm/6373242

“Nothing has changed” for Katherine melon grower after virus declared impossible to eradicate
NT Country Hour By Daniel Fitzgerald

A Katherine melon grower says “nothing has changed” for his farm after the Northern Territory Government declared a plant virus cannot be eradicated.

The Department of Primary Industry (DPI) recently stepped back from trying to eradicate Cucumber Green Mottle Mosaic Virus (CGMMV), opting instead for a management program.

The virus, which affects cucurbits like melons, pumpkins, zucchini, squash and cucumbers, was found to have spread from quarantine zones and is now confirmed on 21 properties across the Northern Territory.

Mitchell Curtis grew melons near Katherine until his farm was found to be infected with the virus and put under quarantine restrictions last year.

While the DPI is still putting together a formal plan for management, Mr Curtis said as far as he understands, the move to management will not change anything for his farm in the short term.

“Basically for us, nothing has changed,” he said.

“Most of it is structural at this stage and once they work that out, we might be able to plant crops, not cucurbits, but plant crops here in 12 months.

“Going from eradication, to management leaves a lot of questions to be answered, like whether we can send [cucurbits] down south from an area that’s been infected, what we have to do to stay clean if we do grow here; all those sorts of things to put certainty back into our orchard, so that we can actually grow melons again, all have to be answered.

“It may take us around 12 months to do that, to go and liaise with other states and work on the problem [of] whether or not we can grow in areas and stay clean with some protections in our growing process, or whether we can’t.”

The Territory’s Minister for Primary Industry, Willem Westra van Holthe, confirmed last week Northern Territory farmers growing cucurbits on land not infected with CGMMV are still able to sell their produce interstate with a Plant Health Certificate.

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Mr Curtis said the declaration that CGMMV cannot be eradicated ensured the nature of the Northern Territory melon industry has changed irreversibly.

“I think there’s some big questions over Territory melons, I think that’s to do with people not understanding what this virus is,” he said.

“There are a lot of viruses in melons, this is another virus that we have to learn to manage.

“Once we’ve learnt how to do that and the fear has gone out of what this virus does and how it can affect our growing processes and all those things, I think the name of the melon industry in the Territory will be just as strong as it has been.”

Mr Curtis leased a plot of land from the Northern Territory Government to grow melons on this year, but to his “absolute horror” he found the land was already infected with CGMMV.

“It certainly indicated the problem we thought we had under control was not,” he said.

“It put some big question marks as to how it got there and what’s spreading it as [the land is] about 40 kilometres from the infected area on Fox Road and its about 30 kilometres from [the infected area at] Edith Farms.”

However Mr Curtis said he believes the virus can be safely managed and controlled.

“We’ve got to keep the thing in perspective so that we understand that small areas in the Northern Territory are infected, but there’s a lot of other areas that are quite safe to grow melons and deliver them with no virus,” he said.

“We’ve got to make sure we don’t taint the whole Territory.”

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