STANTHORPE apple grower Ugo Tomasel has expressed his concern after Biosecurity Australia released its final policy on the importation of New Zealand apples into the country this week.
The import conditions state that NZ growers have to apply in-orchard controls to prevent diseases such as fire blight.
But Mr Tomasel of B Tomasel and Co orchard said the measures were not strict enough.
“All they’re asking New Zealand to do is employ good farm practises,” Mr Tomasel said.
“Certainly from a quarantine perspective it’s very disappointing.”
He said the policy seemed to focus solely on trade rather than quarantine measures.
“The government is risking our industry to fulfil their trade agenda. If we happen to get some form of disease such as fire blight, it would be catastrophic,” he said.
Chairman of Apple and Pear Australia John Lawrenson agreed tighter quarantine controls were needed.
“Frankly, once New Zealand apples start coming into Australia, farmers will be nervous just getting out of bed in the morning because they will be wondering if today is the day they discover fire blight in their orchard,” Mr Lawrenson said.
A sticker is now being produced for Australian apple and pear growers, so consumers can easily identify local produce.
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