Cherry growers in Orange and the New South Wales’ Central Tablelands are benefiting from a Government funded trial to determine the effectiveness of pest control systems to ensure cherries are blemish and fruit fly free.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce said the trial, managed by the NSW Department of Primary Industries, was part of the Government’s $15 million Package Assisting Small Exporters Programme, to improve market access and boost farmgate returns.
“Smaller exporters often don’t have the resources of the bigger players when it comes to getting their product to market and this project is working to address that problem,” Minister Joyce said.
“Managing Queensland fruit fly is critical to maintaining Australia’s profitable horticultural export trade, with many of our destination markets having a fruit fly free requirement.
“The project is about providing assurances to destination markets and supporting smaller exporters land their produce on foreign shores. The cherry on top is being able to deliver a program for NSW cherry growers designed to provide a real increase in exports and a sweeter deal for farmers across NSW.
“The project, which aims to scientifically prove the effectiveness of Australia’s pest control mechanisms to South East Asian markets, is supported by both the NSW Farmers’ Association and NSW Cherry Growers, who believe it will be beneficial for the entire industry.”
Federal Member for Calare, Andrew Gee said so far 17 cherry-growers across NSW were participating in the trial, including eight in Orange, to show their fruit meets the appropriate level of protection for domestic market access.
“A total of 68 fruit fly traps will be deployed, and farms will monitored by field staff from NSW Local Land Services, which has been contracted to monitor traps,” Mr Gee said.
“Measures to protect these farms from fruit fly include pre-harvest monitoring, with associated chemical treatment where required, and post-harvest inspection.
“NSW cherry exports have almost doubled since 2007, going from 525 tonnes that year to 1,042 tonnes in 2016. In 2014-15 cherry production was worth $18.5 million to the NSW economy.
“As a trading nation producing far more than we could ever consume, exports underpin the profitability of our agriculture sector. That’s why the Liberal National Coalition prioritises trade and market access and we will continue to do so into the future.”