Finding the best measures to manage plant pest risks for export
Australian farmers are already doing a great job at producing fresh produce that is free of pests and diseases.
We want to give producers a wider range of management options to efficiently reduce biosecurity risks that are recognised for both interstate and international trade.
Strengthening and formalising the science behind biosecurity measures may help trading partners negotiate and agree on market access arrangements more quickly and easily.
A menu that sets out the range of options for producers and exporters
We conducted a global review of over 1,800 risk reduction measures for plant pests to understand:
- what biosecurity measures are being used
- how these measures reduce plant pest risk
- how their effectiveness is demonstrated.
We found only 39 unique measures. Many are underutilised because they don't have adequate scientific, trade and regulatory frameworks in place. As a result, market access agreements often rely on just a few, well-known measures.
We developed a menu of measures online tool through our Trusted Agrifood Exports Mission and in collaboration with Hort Innovation.
The tool helps regulators and trading partners consider all available options – including to recognise and quantify the things that farmers do already which reduce risk. For example, we could extend the use of optical scanning imaging technology in fruit grading to also find and remove infested fruit.
The menu can help drive innovation and opportunities to develop and recognise production practices and supply chain technologies that can contribute to biosecurity.
This is transformational biosecurity beyond some of the usual options for reducing trade-related biosecurity risks, such as fumigation of fresh produce and checking produce shipments at borders.
A prototype online tool for further development with industry
We want to keep improving the science-base for plant biosecurity and build international agreement on how the effectiveness of risk management measures is demonstrated – especially for the lesser-known measures and options arising from newer technologies.
This could help increase international trade opportunities for Australian exporters while reducing plant pest risks.
As a next step, a comprehensive digital resource is being developed in collaboration with biosecurity specialists in the Australian and state governments to provide more detail about each measure in the menu and what evidence is required to support their use in trade arrangements.