A way of life under threat

A multi-pronged approach is needed to help combat the serious threat posed by fruit fly, advocates say.
An action plan to combat the destructive insect pest will be launched at Harcourt’s new twilight market this Saturday.
Harcourt Valley Landcare earlier received $5000 from the state government to develop a fruit fly action plan and deliver a community awareness campaign.
The group’s Terry Willis said the main goal was to prevent fruit fly from establishing in Harcourt where it could wreak havoc for the region’s valuable fruit and vegetable industries.
“Commercial fruit and vegetable production and viticulture is worth $17.9 million a year for the Harcourt Valley Region,” Mr Willis said.
He said the local landcare group used some of its grant to commission Castlemaine’s Jess Drake of Murrang Earth Sciences to develop the plan.
Ms Drake will be present to launch the plan and discuss it from 4-8pm at Saturday evening’s inaugural Harcourt Twilight Market.
Mr Willis said every resident in Harcourt would also receive an information pack in the post in coming days as part of efforts to tackle the threat of Queensland fruit fly.
He said approaches to combating the destructive pest would vary depending on the size, scale and type of produce operation involved with options including tree netting and fruit fly traps.
“There have been a couple of unconfirmed sightings of fruit fly in Castlemaine and two unconfirmed sightings in Harcourt,” he said.
“Queensland fruit fly is all over Bendigo and we would dearly love to stop this happening in Harcourt.
“If fruit fly establishes in Harcourt, we’ll all be affected.
“The confusing thing with fruit fly is that there’s a whole range of tools available to help combat it.
“At this stage some of the commercial growers in the area have traps.
“Growing fruit and veggies is a way of life that many of us hold dear as part of country life. Sadly, that way of life is under threat.”

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