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TAS Country : March 3rd 2011
Friday, March 4, 2011 Tasmanian Country 5 News Quarantine fears are flying high KAROLIN MacGREGOR TASMANIA'S fruit industry is calling for a full audit of commercial import requirements for fruit coming into the state after the discovery of a second fruit fly in southern Tasmania last week. Investigations into how the two adult fruit flies got into Tasmania are still being carried out, and further monitor- ing is under way to determine if there are any more. The flies were discovered by Quaran- tine Tasmania one week apart during biosecurity trapping checks in Hobart's northern suburbs. Fruit Growers Tasmania business development manager Lucy Gregg said the discovery of the fruit flies should be a warning to the State Government about the importance of the state's quarantine services. ''It's basically a waiting game for the fruit industry now to see if there are any more,'' she said. ''This comes as a very timely warn- ing to Government to make sure they protect the Tasmanian fruit industry.'' Ms Gregg said an audit of quarantine procedures for commercial import- ation of fruit from other states right through the supply chain was needed to ensure the system was providing the highest level of protection possible. ''I think there definitely should be resourcing to ensure that the integrity of what they're doing is sufficient,'' she said. ''We are on the knife edge now, because we have had a breach of quarantine and somehow a piece of infected fruit has got in.'' Ms Gregg said the discovery of adult Queensland fruit flies in the state was a major concern, because it was still not known how they got here. ''We have just had the finish of the school holidays, so there have been a lot of people coming back into the state, and with the outbreaks of fruit fly in Victoria the level of risk does in- crease,'' she said. ''We're keeping a very close eye on the situation at the moment and obviously questions are going to be asked about how it happened.'' Ms Gregg said that with many of Tasmania's most valuable export mar- kets dependent on the state retaining its ''area freedom from fruit fly'' status, it was vital the State Government understood the seriousness of the issue. ''An enormous amount is at stake here and the viability of the Tasmanian fruit industry depends on us remaining fruit fly free,'' she said. Ms Gregg said the fruit industry was seeking a meeting with Premier Lara Giddings to discuss their concerns about any further possible cuts to quarantine services. Rabobank Australia Limited ACN 001 621 129, AFSL 234700 offers the All in One account. RAB0500/10 Grow your business with our All In One account The market-leading rural loan from the agribusiness specialists The Rabobank All In One account is speci cally designed to assist primary producers realise their future plans. It combines exible long-term nance with easy access to funds through cheque book, VISA debit card and ATM, as well as the convenience of internet and phone banking. With one of the most innovative agribusiness loan packages available, you can make important nancial decisions at the right time for your business. ■ Maximise your cash ow with an interest-only loan period of up to 15 years. ■ Transaction, overdraft and loan facilities in a single account. ■ Book interest rates online without a fee and with no further documentation. Rabobank. One focus. Call 1300 30 30 33 or visit rabobank.com.au RARE FINDS: Seed producer Peter Coxhead studies output at his Derby property. Picture: KAROLIN MacGREGOR Heirloom seeds hobby goes wild KAROLIN MacGREGOR Continued Page 15 FOR enthusiasts of heirloom seed varieties Peter Coxhead's office could be considered a treasure trove. Hundreds of years of history and breeding sits in neatly catalogued envelopes in his office in the north- east town of Derby. Over the past 12 years Mr Coxhead has steadily expanded his interest in heirloom seeds which started as a small home garden and has grown into a thriving business. The business recently took a big leap forward when Mr Coxhead took over the Rangeview Seeds online business 12 months ago. Mr Coxhead began to dabble in heirloom seeds through necessity after a severe car accident forced him to totally change his way of life. Becoming self-sufficient in an effort to save money saw Mr Coxhead establish a vegetable garden on his property. Through a network of people he met through the seed savers group, Mr Coxhead was soon growing unusual and almost forgotten varieties of fruits and vegetables on his property. ''At first I wanted to find varieties that would perform well in our cooler climate here and it just kept growing from there,'' he said. ''Word spread that I was a pretty keen gardener and people started coming up to me with seeds from stuff they had growing in their own gardens.'' He soon realised there were many people across the state growing varieties of vegetables, some of which had been passed down through the generations. ''When you start looking in the history of some of these varieties it's quite fascinating,'' he said. Tomatoes are one of his main interests and he now has more than 250 seed varieties. ''Once I got up to about 30 it became a bit addictive and I kept wanting more,'' he said. Mr Coxhead said he soon realised there was a market for heirloom seeds and began selling seed to commercial market gardners and keen home gardners.
February 24th 2011
March 10th 2011