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National Fruit Fly Council sets out priorities for next phase of work

Pest and Disease Management

Protecting market access for Australia’s $3.4 billion horticultural export industries is one of the three key priorities for the National Fruit Fly Council (NFFC) under Phase 4 of the project that kicked off in December 2021 and will conclude in 2026.

The NFFC is a strategic body bringing together federal and state governments, growers and research funders to oversee the implementation of the National Fruit Fly Strategy. It provides advice and leadership on delivering a cost-effective and sustainable approach to managing fruit flies across Australia.

NFFC Manager Stuart Burgess said Phase 4 would continue to build on a considerable body of work in recent years, which has increased national engagement and identified priorities to strengthen the national fruit fly system and Australia’s trade position.

“Managing established fruit flies, such as Queensland fruit fly (Bactrocera tryoni; Qfly) and Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata; Medfly), is essential to maintain access to premium markets for Australia’s horticultural growers. However, it is also important to focus on ensuring exotic species such as oriental fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis) and spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) do not enter Australia,” Stuart said.

Along with market access and biosecurity, the NFFC’s priorities include on-farm management and supporting the national management system.

Apples and pears are host fruits for both Qfly and Medfly species.

With a third consecutive La Niña event well underway, growers are being urged to get fruit fly control measures in place early in the season.

La Niña increases the chance of above average rainfall for northern and eastern Australia during spring and summer, creating wet and humid conditions perfect for the development of higher-than-normal fruit fly populations.

Orchard hygiene is essential to stop fruit fly.

Feral fruit trees, abandoned orchards and unmanaged backyard fruit trees are all ideal hosts for fruit flies and pose a serious risk to nearby production areas.

Control activities should commence five to six weeks before harvest and well before fruit starts to develop colour.

Approaches to fruit fly management include:

Effective management of fruit flies relies on cooperation at all levels of government, between industry bodies, research institutions, regional groups, growers, and community and home gardeners.

Find out more in the forthcoming Summer edition of AFG.

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