4 Dec 2014

Pipfruit industry third to sign GIA

1:59 pm on 4 December 2014

The pipfruit sector says signing up to a Government Industry agreement will allow it to influence, shape and make decisions around future biosecurity programmes.

The apple and pear growing sector was the third to sign the agreement, following the kiwifruit and pork industries earlier this year.

It was the second largest fresh fruit sector after kiwifruit, accounting for more than $500 million in export sales last year.

Pipfruit New Zealand's chief executive Alan Pollard said without the agreement, the industry had little or no say or leadership in the event of a response being initiated.

"At the moment it's MPI's 100 percent responsibility to manage biosecurity and as a result of that they also manage the risk, so the opportunities for industry to be strategically involved in developing response programmes and initiatives and in being heavily involved if there is a detection or an incursion is very limited.

"What this agreement says is that we're going to work together, we're going to use the best of both resources and people and skills to get the best biosecurity outcomes."

He said the first step would be to set out roles and responsibilities around costs, training and readiness and response to biosecurity.

"Fruit flies are significant risk for us for export markets.

"Our fruit fly status gives us access to a number of markets around the world and we don't want to compromise that and also you know there's been recent detections or fruit fly, particularly in Whangarei, so it is at the foremost of people's thoughts at the moment."