AUSVEG plans to activate vegetable biosecurity levy to protect industry
Peak industry body AUSVEG has announced its intention to raise the current Emergency Plant Pest Response (EPPR) levy for the vegetable industry in order to safeguard growers and their farms from potential exotic pest incursions.
The vegetable industry’s Emergency Plant Pest Response levy is currently set at the rate of zero per cent, which was put in place in 2012 following extensive industry consultation.
“This levy provides a mechanism for the industry to fund eradication activities to reduce the threat of exotic plant pests, such as exotic species of Fruit fly in the Torres Strait,” said AUSVEG spokesperson Shaun Lindhe.
“AUSVEG intends to raise the vegetable EPPR levy to 0.001 per cent of the value at the point of sale, which is expected to accrue between $14,000 and $19,000 per year based on fluctuations in total farm gate sales since 2010.”
“Using 2014/15 data from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, the estimated contributions per year is $1.11 for small farms, $4.47 per year for medium farms and $29.27 per year for large farms.”
AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing over 9,000 Australian vegetable and potato growers.
If successfully increased it is intended that funds accrued by the EPPR levy will contribute to ongoing annual eradication measures against the Oriental fruit fly, Melon fly and New Guinea fruit fly as a part of the Torres Strait Fruit Fly Strategy.
“These species are trade sensitive exotic pests that would have negative impacts on vegetable yield, costs of production, and market access (domestic and international) should they be detected in Australian production areas,” said Mr Lindhe.
“The intention is not to let the reserve funds accumulate indefinitely. It is AUSVEG’s intent that the EPPR levy run at a rate of 0.001% for four years in order to fund the Torres Strait Fruit Fly Strategy for three funding cycles, at three years per cycle.”
Vegetable industry levy payers will be notified of the 30 day objection period and method of lodging objections to AUSVEG or the Federal Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.
“Raising the EPPR Levy to a positive value is an insurance policy for our industry against losses in production, but also against potential trade barriers. It is time biosecurity preparedness measures were viewed as a trade asset,” Mr Lindhe said.
MEDIA CONTACT: Shaun Lindhe, AUSVEG Manager – Communications
Phone: (03) 9882 0277, Mobile: 0405 977 789, Email: email@example.com