Fruit growers have welcomed a cooperative agreement to fund the establishment of a new Sterile Insect Technology program to help eradicate fruit flies and safeguard our multi-billion dollar horticulture industry across Victoria and South Australia.
The Andrews Labor Government will contribute $900,000 towards the Sterile Insect Technology (SITplus) program for the development of a new national Queensland Fruit Fly rearing facility at Port Augusta in South Australia.
Sterile insect technology (SIT) is an elementary tool used in the battle against fruit flies. It disrupts the insect’s life cycle by flooding wild pest populations with sterilised insects, reducing the fertility of the field populations to a point where they die out – making full eradication possible.
Victorian growers will be significant winners from the program, as SIT will be deployed across the state for area wide suppression and eradication programs.
SIT has been successful internationally in controlling fruit flies, pink bollworm, screw worm, and codling moth and is formally recognised by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC).
The funding boost is part of the Labor Government’s proactive approach to manage fruit flies, as stated in the recently launched five year fruit fly action plan, which aims to battle the spread of fruit flies, improve orchard productivity and maintain and develop domestic and international export markets.
The SITplus program was initiated by the South Australia Government and Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited (HIAL) as part of a dynamic program involving industry, community and government all working together to develop and deploy effective fruit fly management techniques across affected regions of Australia.
The flies produced in the new SITplus facility will be made commercially available in 2018/19 to all horticulture growing regions around the country to assist with their own management programs.
Information about the Fruit Fly Action Plan can be found at www.agriculture.vic.gov.au
Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford
“Fruit flies are a serious pest causing an estimated $300 million per year nationally towards control and lost market costs.”
“Fruit flies are everyone’s responsibility so it is crucial we all work together to manage and reduce the impact of this costly pest. Cutting edge technology like this facility at Port Augusta is an excellent step forward.”
Quotes attributable to South Australian Minister for Agriculture Leon Bignell
“The financial participation by Victoria in the collaborative development of SIT technology will assist in our joint efforts to manage QFF across South Eastern Australia.”