NT virus sparks hygiene warning


Every part of the supply chain needs to be fastidious at avoiding the cucumber green mottle mosaic virus, Queensland cucurbit growers say.

NT virus sparks hygiene warning
Cucurbit crops will need plant health certificates before they can be transported into Queensland.

 

Queensland is set to introduce restrictions on the movement of a range of cucurbit crops – melons, pumpkins and cucumbers – as it works to prevent the cucumber green mottle mosaic virus from entering the State.

But growers say transporters and their retail customers also have a job to do to maintain the integrity of local produce.

Cucumber green mottle mosaic was first detected in the Northern Territory in September. It is a highly contagious virus that can reduce yields by as much as 25 per cent.

It has since prompted a declaration of a statewide quarantine area, which came into effect on November 27.

That means cucurbit crops, as well as any soil or equipment associated with them, will need plant health certificates before they can be transported into Queensland.

Biosecurity Queensland is also planning a series of inspections across farming and market sites in the state.

Bowen-Gumlu Growers Association spokesman Carl Walker says the ban is good news for farmers in Queensland, but warns that it cannot prevent the disease from spreading on its own.

He says transport companies, supermarket chains, and growers themselves need to also take extra care around biosecurity protocols.

"Hire bins, pallets and crates that people use to put their product [are] shipped to markets all over Australia," he told the ABC.

"They go back to a depot, supposedly to be washed correctly, but I know from personal experience that things turn up at my farm that are still dirty and full of plant matter.

"Large organisations really should have something better in place than what they have."

You can also follow our updates by joining our LinkedIn group or liking us on Facebook