Tuesday, 10 July 2012 10:19

Beekeepers have biosecurity concerns

Written by 

National Beekeepers' Association president Barry Foster says he will talk to MPI about improving their communication following the independent report into how the devastating kiwifruit vine disease PSA came into this country.

The Australian report couldn't identify exactly how PSA got into the country but identified shortcomings in New Zealand's biosecurity system.

Foster says the failings all come down to a communication breakdown between MPI and affected industries.

"This allowed the importation of pollen. In this case the pollen came from plants but if it had come from an overseas beehive it could have had devastating consequences for our industry, as well as the kiwifruit industry."

New Zealand's beekeeping industry is estimated to be worth over $5 billion annually. By providing pollination services it supports many of New Zealand's major agri-export industries.

Foster says GIA or the proposed Government Industry Agreement would be one way of improving the communication between industries and MPI.

"Obviously we, as an agricultural sector, need greater communication with MPI and they with us. Anything to do with plant material being imported into New Zealand has an effect on our industry.

"For instance, if fruit isn't cleared of the small hive beetle there could be devastating consequences for our industry.

"And if beekeepers are badly affected by a pest or disease, there are major flow-on effects on other agri-sectors."

Foster says while there will be some costs to signing up to GIA there will also be some major differences in approach to biosecurity planning and incursion response that industry may feel are well worth the cost.

However he says GIA is some way away and in the meantime he intends talking with MPI about how they can improve their communication lines so the next importation of

a potential risk to the industry can have red flags attached right from the beginning.

NBA executive council member Dennis Crowley says everyone knew the investigation into how PSA came into New Zealand would never prove exactly where the infection came from. However he says the report showed up slackness in a number of areas.

"It showed some shortcomings in the way MPI (MAF at the time) deals with biosecurity issues. MPI suggested the kiwifruit industry should have asked more questions about the importation of the pollen. But how can an industry ask about what it doesn't know? MPI needs to check with all industries and get their sign off before it brings anything into this country."

More like this

HortNZ backs Biosecurity Amendment Bill

Horticulture New Zealand (HortNZ) says its is thrilled that the Biosecurity (Information for Incoming Passengers) Amendment Bill was drawn from the Private Member's Ballot yesterday.


Same old story!

NZ International Business Forum executive director Stephen Jacobi says the present FTA negotiations with the UK is depressing, with the…

Mayor slams Shaw's SNA claim

Grey District's mayor is unhappy at the lack of response from government ministers about concerns from West Coast leaders and…

Vets may choose Oz over NZ

Border restrictions are putting a roadblock in the way of getting more veterinarians to New Zealand and some are even…

Machinery & Products

One-pass cultivator moves 70% less soil

According to Kverneland distributor, Power Farming, the KultiStrip system will bring opportunities to farm environmentally, while improving yields and profitability.

Claas buys into bots

German harvesting specialist and tractor manufacturer Claas has acquired a minority shareholding in Dutch start-up company AgXeed, the developer of…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Thanks - not!

OPINION: Your canine crusader reckons one of the few things you can guarantee in farming - a bit like rates…


OPINION: A mate of the Hound's reckons the PM needs to be a bit careful about who or what she…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter