18 Nov 2010

Ban on all pollen imports wanted

12:51 pm on 18 November 2010

Federated Farmers has called for an immediate ban on all pollen imports.

Biosecurity and bee industry spokesperson, John Hartnell, says there's a strong possibility that the bacterial PSA disease in kiwifruit orchards arrived in imported pollen used to supplement the natural pollination done by bees in kiwifruit orchards.

Mr Hartnell has written to MAF Biosecurity and Biosecurity Minister David Carter raising his concerns.

He says large amounts of pollen are imported from China and Chile and not just for kiwifruit.

He says it can carry all sorts of diseases, as the Australian bee industry learnt when a bee disease called chalk brood was introduced there through pollen imported from China.

Mr Hartnell says it's possible that the latest bee pest found in this country, a small parasite called nosema ceranae, identified in Coromandel bee hives, may have arrived in pollen imported for kiwifruit pollination.