Fruit fly numbers set to soar

NO FLIES ON US… Minister for Agriculture, Jaclyn Symes and Goulburn Murray Valley Regional Fruit Fly coordinator, Ross Abberfield hope the Victorian Government continues funding to combat the Queensland Fruit Fly. Photo: Supplied.

Industry insiders have warned Queensland Fruit Fly (QFF) numbers will increase by between 60 to 70 percent in the Goulburn Murray Valley (GMV), if the Victorian Government fails to fund continued prevention and management measures after June this year.

The region is known as the ‘Nation’s Orchard’ and has been successful in reducing QFF numbers through the GMV Regional Fruit Fly Project. The future of the project is uncertain with the Victorian Government yet to advise whether the project will be funded after June 2020.

GMV Fruit Fly Project Governance Group chair and Cobram and District Fruit Growers Association president, Tony Siciliano said QFF numbers in the GMV would increase to where they were prior to the project’s commencement if the project was to cease.

“Despite the many economic challenges facing the government it’s imperative and a matter of common sense that we continue to protect our horticultural industry by maintaining our focus on reducing the spread of fruit fly,” Mr Siciliano said.

The project has reduced QFF numbers by more than 73 percent in Cobram and 60 percent in Greater Shepparton, Campaspe and Strathbogie Shires.