New agreement to protect citrus industry

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Biosecurity New Zealand and Citrus New Zealand have reached an agreement on how to prepare for and respond to future biosecurity threats.

Both parties signed a Sector Operational Agreement for Readiness and Response today under the Government-Industry Agreement (GIA) partnership. They have committed to undertake a joint 3-year programme of work to better protect the citrus industry from biosecurity threats.

"The GIA partnership enables us to work alongside industry to better understand the risks, and how we might deal with them if they reach our shores," says Roger Smith, head of Biosecurity New Zealand.

"The pressure on our biosecurity system is increasing and we have to be better prepared for outbreaks."

Under the agreement, Biosecurity New Zealand and Citrus New Zealand will jointly agree and fund readiness activities to improve preparedness for incursions of pests and pathogens that are considered a major concern to the citrus industry.

Biosecurity New Zealand and Citrus New Zealand joined the GIA in 2014 and 2016 respectively.

"We are all responsible for protecting Aotearoa from pests and pathogens, and this agreement under the GIA aligns with the wider Ko Tātou This Is Us Biosecurity 2025 programme to improve New Zealand's biosecurity system," says Mr Smith.

Chair of Citrus New Zealand, Wayne Hall, says: "Citrus New Zealand values the GIA partnership with Biosecurity New Zealand.  This agreement gives our relatively small sector the opportunity to take action to minimise the risks from diseases that could devastate our citrus production in New Zealand.  It's a big commitment for the industry, but shows how seriously Citrus NZ takes our biosecurity to protect our orchards and continue to provide domestic and export customers with great tasting fresh New Zealand citrus."

The agreement will cover preparing for and responding to incursions of huanglongbing (HLB), Asian citrus psyllid and citrus canker. These pests and pathogens have been identified as high priority by Citrus New Zealand and Biosecurity New Zealand. More pests and pathogens may be added over time.

Citrus New Zealand is also a signatory to the Fruit Fly Operational Agreement alongside Biosecurity New Zealand and other potentially-affected industry sectors.

Biosecurity New Zealand is part of the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Citrus New Zealand represents 320 New Zealand citrus growers producing around 30,500 tonnes of lemons, mandarins, oranges, tangelos, grapefruit, limes and other hybrids annually.

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