War on fruit fly

Efforts to avert the threat of fruit fly before it impacts on local fruit and veg producers have been ramped up at Harcourt with the announcement of a new series of state government grants.
Bendigo West MP Maree Edwards visited local organic fruit producers, Mount Alexander Fruit Gardens, on Friday to announce just under $20,000 in grants for local organisations to help tackle the looming threat.
The local grants are part of the state government’s wider approval of $1.6 million in grants to tackle the destructive Queensland pest, which unchecked has potential to decimate Australia’s valuable fruit and vegetable production sectors.
“It’s particularly concerning here where we know fruit is the centrepiece,” Ms Edwards said.
“We do have so many orchards across this particular part of the electorate.”
The local grant recipients are Harcourt Valley Landcare Group, Bendigo Regional Food Alliance Inc, Greater Bendigo City Council and Mount Alexander Shire Council.
Bendigo Regional Food Alliance received $4930 to deliver fruit fly mapping, community pruning and fruit fly management workshops.
Each of the other recipients got $5000 to help raise community awareness and develop education videos.
Those attending Friday’s announcement included local commercial organic vegetable and herb growers like Mel Willard and Sas Allardice of Gung Hoe Growers.
“Fruit fly doesn’t just affect fruit. It affects vegetables as well and being able to prevent it is the most important thing,” Ms Allardice said.
“Prevention is the main thing. If fruit fly gets a hold in our region it can have devastating effects for all growers, fruit growers and vegetable growers so the grants are really important.”
Hugh Finlay of Mount Alexander Fruit Gardens said while there had as yet been no confirmed trappings of Qld fruit fly in Harcourt the threat was “massive”.
“We’re really pleased about this announcement because it does raise awareness of fruit fly as a potential threat both to the fruit industry and as a general community issue,” he said.
“People love having their fruit trees in the back yard but they’re one of the biggest risks as far as being fruit fly hosts.”

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