Summerfruit at Otaki's Penray Gardens
Summerfruit NZ and the Meat Industry Association of New Zealand (MIA) have this week signed the Government Industry Agreement for Biosecurity Readiness and Response (GIA) Deed, joining the fight against pests and diseases that could significantly impact New Zealand's economy.
By signing the GIA Deed, Summerfruit NZ and MIA join the fifteen other industry sectors that have agreed to work with Government, and each other, to combat the threat of an incursion of a pest or disease.
Summerfruit NZ represents the collective interests of New Zealand's apricot, cherry, nectarine, peach and plum growers. The value of the New Zealand summerfruit industry approached $140 million for 2016-17 and is well on the way to reaching its goal of being a $250 million industry by 2035.
Tim Jones, Summerfruit NZ Chair said, "Like all horticulture industries, Summerfruit NZ faces a large number of biosecurity threats that could damage the livelihoods of our growers."
"Biosecurity is an investment, not a cost", said Mr Jones. "GIA creates a foundation for us to have a more informed interaction about the biosecurity system with MPI and other GIA industry partners. This includes ways biosecurity might be improved, making recommendations for improvements where required, planning for the risk of any biosecurity incursion and taking a lead role in the event of an incursion."
These comments were endorsed by John Loughlin, MIA's Chair. "Biosecurity is fundamentally important to the New Zealand meat industry as it underpins our reputation for producing safe, high quality product," said Mr Loughlin.
"A large-scale biosecurity incursion like foot and mouth disease could devastate the meat sector and seriously impact the wider New Zealand economy," he said. "The recent Mycoplasma bovis incursion in South Canterbury highlights how even a relatively unknown disease can have a big impact on the industry. Customers increasingly demand meat and pharmaceutical products that have a disease-free status – maintaining New Zealand's unique international biosecurity status gives our industry a major advantage."
"We look forward to working in partnership with Government and other industries to maintain and improve New Zealand's biosecurity readiness and response."
MIA represents New Zealand's meat processors and exporters, and its members account for more than 99% of the meat processed in New Zealand. The meat sector exports almost $8 billion annually, and is New Zealand's second largest export and single largest manufacturing sector.
GIA Manager Steve Rich welcomed the two new arrivals on behalf of the wider partnership, saying that the new additions are a tangible demonstration of the future of biosecurity in New Zealand. "Here you have two very different sectors, but with common interests to achieve better biosecurity, joining together to deliver better outcomes with their peer industries and Government."
"MIA and Summerfruit NZ joining the GIA partnership means the vast majority of New Zealand's land-based agriculture sectors are now represented in GIA, along with Government. We look forward to working with them to jointly manage biosecurity readiness and response," said Mr Rich.