Regional communities across Victoria’s many horticultural regions will be better equipped to actively manage fruit flies thanks to a $6.7 million funding boost from the Victorian Government.
Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford announced the funding at an orchard in Ardmona to develop and deliver the Managing Fruit Fly – Regional Grants Program.
Fruit flies pose a significant threat to Victoria’s growing horticulture industry, disrupting production and trade worldwide. Species such as Queensland Fruit Fly (QFF) are present in Victoria and need effective management to reduce their impact.
Administered by Agriculture Victoria, the grants form a key part of the Labor Government’s Fruit Fly Action Plan.
It is anticipated fruit fly trap rollouts, urban tree removal programs, pest monitoring and school or sporting club engagement could all be supported through the program.
Ms Pulford also confirmed the appointment of Victoria’s first state-wide fruit fly coordinator Cathy Mansfield, who has worked in the industry for more than 20 years with a strong focus on pest management, and is based in the Heart of the Goulburn Valley at Tatura.
Regional communities will be able to actively manage fruit fly in their own local areas through the establishment of three new regional coordinator groups, supported by the state-wide coordinator.
Each group will be led by key horticulture industry experts and will work closely with community groups, organisations and institutions to improve fruit fly management in commercial orchards while improving international market access and trade opportunities.
Victoria’s horticultural industry has a farm gate value of around $2.4 billion and accounts for 52 per cent of Australia’s horticultural exports. International trade of horticulture products from Victoria was valued at $909 million in 2014–15.