PROTECTING the future productivity and profitability of Australia's horticulture sector has taken a big step forward, following the release of the 2020-25 National Fruit Fly Strategy.
National Fruit Fly Council chair Lloyd Klumpp said the strategy was a framework for governments, industry and research funders to advance fruit fly management.
"It is a blueprint for national cooperation as we seek to both manage our existing pest fruit fly species, Queensland fruit fly and Mediterranean fruit fly, and prevent exotic species like oriental fruit fly establishing in Australia," Dr Kumpp said.
The actions required to meet these needs have been captured under eight different, but interdependent, priority areas: market access; management of established fruit fly; prevention, preparedness and response; research; surveillance; diagnostics; communication and engagement; and cooperation.
Steve Burdette, technical manager at Nutrano Produce Group and NFFC member, said a focus was to maintain and advance access to domestic and international markets for fruit fly affected industries.
"We have to work together to tackle fruit fly," Mr Burdette said.
"They are a key barrier to market access for our fruit fly affected industries, which make up about half of Australia's $13 billion horticulture sector."
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said fruit flies cost the horticulture sector about $300 million a year and could have a major impact on fruit and vegetable growers.
"The National Fruit Fly Strategy 2020-25 provides a blueprint for national cooperation and will enhance the effectiveness of management activities to support landholders and the community to manage fruit flies better into the future," Mr Littleproud said.
Plant Health Australia chief executive officer Sarah Corcoran said the strategy was a collaborative effort by Australia's horticultural industries, state governments, the Australian Government, Hort Innovation and various research institutions.
"PHA brought together the contributions of these organisations into a unified national strategy which can meet the needs of the diverse industries and regions impacted by fruit fly," Ms Corcoran said.
Dr Klumpp said while the NFFC would oversee the implementation of the strategy, the strength of the strategy lay in the contribution that each individual and organisation made to combating fruit fly.
"Effective management of fruit flies relies on cooperation at all levels of government, and between industry bodies, research institutions, regional groups, growers, and community and home gardeners," Dr Klumpp said.
"To this end, I encourage you to consider using this strategic framework when planning and executing fruit fly management."