Growers warned of risks of bringing imported fruit on to orchards

05 February 2015

As a precaution to help prevent the entry of unwanted biosecurity threats, growers and orchard workers should not bring imported fruit onto orchards.

A risk assessment completed by MPI has concluded that White Peach Scale (WPS) is unlikely to establish in New Zealand as imported fruit is unlikely to come into close proximity of New Zealand orchards, a critical step in the establishment process. However if growers were to bring and dispose of imported fruit on their orchard this assumption would not hold true and the risk of establishment would increase.

MPI have recently completed a “Generic Pest Risk Assessment: Armoured Scales on the Fresh Produce Pathway”, which KVH was involved in as an external reviewer in collaboration with an expert entomologist from Plant and Food Research. Certain scale insects such as WPS are considered a significant threat to the kiwifruit industry and are often intercepted on the fresh produce pathway. KVH has a vested interest in ensuring the risks this pathway presents are accurately assessed and appropriately managed.

The Risk Assessment concluded that White peach scale has a;

  • Negligible to high likelihood of entering New Zealand on fresh produce pathway, high likelihood on favoured host commodities from regions where the pest is prevalent;
  • Low likelihood of being exposed to host material if the pest entered New Zealand;
  • Low likelihood of establishment in New Zealand as crawlers of both sexes would need to find a host and each other to reproduce, an important limiting step;
  • Moderate likelihood of spread to warmer regions of New Zealand if established here; and
  • Moderate economic impacts would be likely if the pest did establish and spread.

KVH’s comments in the review were considered against that of the author and the other reviewer from the United States Department of Agriculture and incorporated into the final version. While KVH felt that WPS could have greater than ‘moderate’ economic impacts to the kiwifruit sector, the moderate ranking reflects potential economic impact on all crops across all sectors.

MPI’s management practices are outside the scope of this risk assessment but will be subsequently reviewed on the basis of these conclusions. KVH will be reviewing these management practices and ensuring they provide the level of protection we believe is necessary. As an industry we can all assist in reducing the likelihood of these pests entering and establishing in our orchards by taking steps to prevent imported produce being brought onto orchards and ensuring that the assumptions behind exposure and establishment hold true.

A full version of the Pest Risk Assessment is available on the MPI website, click here.

Matt Dyck, KVH Biosecurity