Gov’t announces measures to protect grain exports from khapra beetle pest
The federal government has announced that sea containers loaded with high-risk plant products and packed in a khapra beetle target risk country are now required to undergo mandatory treatment offshore.
Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, David Littleproud, said the mandatory offshore treatment was one of the urgent actions being put in place under the Australian Government’s $14.5 million investment in surge capacity to respond to the changing threat of khapra beetle.
“Khapra beetle is a significant global pest threat,” Minister Littleproud said
“Australia is free of khapra beetle and it is important we keep it that way for continued access to valuable international markets,” he emphasized.
“80 percent of our grain exports would be at risk if khapra established in Australia or if there was the perception that it had. Dried food exports such as nuts and dried fruit would also be at risk,” he continued.
He further explained that khapra beetle can survive as a hitchhiker pest in sea containers for a number of years with little to no food; and managing the risk of sea containers is a complex, global problem.
“The government is working with overseas counterparts, industry and research organisations to identify possible global supply chain solutions,” Minister Littleproud said.
“In the meantime, urgent actions are being put in place to minimise the risk this pest entering Australia via sea containers.”
Minister Littleproud that Australia has a robust biosecurity system that reduces the risks posed by exotic pests and diseases, as well as established procedures to manage detections when they do occur.
Source: Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management media release