Welcome overseas workers, not their hitchhiking mates

08 March 2018

As the kiwifruit industry gears up for harvest, and the corresponding annual influx of overseas workers, it’s time to consider the risk to the biosecurity of our industry presented by overseas workers – or more accurately, their clothing, footwear and tools.

There are many biosecurity threats present in other growing regions around the world that are not here in New Zealand, and which could have a devastating impact on our industry. There have been several reports of fruit flies and Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) incursions close to home in Australia, stink bugs continue to wreak havoc across Europe and the USA, and the soil-borne Brazilian Wilt has caused up to 50% vine loss on Brazilian kiwifruit orchards over recent years.

· Make overseas workers aware of the need for excellent orchard hygiene.

· Make sure they do not bring tools used overseas onto your orchard.

· Check their footwear was cleaned and sanitised in their home country or at the border – don’t take any chances.

It’s important that you don’t allow any imported fruit to come on to your orchard. If you see or hear of someone that has accidently bought fruit or vegetables into New Zealand make sure it is reported to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and then appropriately destroyed by being bagged and put in the rubbish, not composted.

Keep an eye out for any unusual symptoms on your vines. If you observe any sudden vine wilt - for reasons other than the persistent heat recently - contact us immediately. We have great links to MPI and can quickly distinguish the unusual from the ordinary. We are always keen to hear from anyone who may have concerns.