Sharing learnings with Australia
Last month KVH attended the Plant Biosecurity Research Symposium in Brisbane, an inaugural event to share plant biosecurity research between trans-Tasman counterparts so that we can avoid duplicating efforts and identify areas for future collaboration.
KVH presented on lessons from Psa and learnings for biosecurity readiness, and it was interesting to see several consistent themes come through in the presentations. Of interest was a presentation by Shane Templeton, from Templeton ginger who described his experience in dealing with a soil borne pathogen, Pythium rot (a close relative to Phytophthora).
Shane described how it took several years to report and take action to the unusual symptoms being observed on his property by which stage the pathogen had taken hold and about 30% of production was being lost. Through strict on-orchard biosecurity practices Shane managed to eventually get on top of the disease but it almost cost him the business, which is the largest fresh ginger operation in Australia and a business that has been in the family for three generations. Messages that are very relevant to the on-orchard biosecurity guidelines that KVH released recently.
The need for investment in smarter tools and technology was also made clear in the opening address by Lyn O’Connell, Deputy Secretary of the Australian Department of Agriculture. Lyn provided an insight into how biosecurity risk is increasing with an ever more connected world. In Australia, it is expected that by 2025 volumes of cargo, containers, and passengers will each increase by over 70% from their current value. This increase in trade volumes, combined with an increase in the rate of pests spreading means that investment in biosecurity systems would need to triple just to maintain the current level of risk. A trend that is clearly not sustainable and therefore there is a growing need for science to deliver smarter approaches to managing risk, which was a key theme of the conference.