As more Tasmania farmers wait to find out if they will be caught up in a fruit fly control zone, a berry grower says the outbreak has been “financially devastating”.
Fruit fly was first detected in the state in January, sparking concerns it could threaten the state’s fruit fly-free status.
Earlier this week, Biosecurity Tasmania said a single male fruit fly found inside a house in suburban Launceston did not constitute an outbreak.
The discovery is well outside the established control zones at George Town and Spreyton but some farmers are nervous.
Kent Mainwaring runs a blueberry farm at Turners Marsh about 17 kilometres from Launceston.
He fears his property will become part of the control zone if an active population is discovered at Mowbray.
“Unlike blueberry rust, fruit fly’s nothing you can protect yourself against,” he said.
“If fruit fly gets in there’s nothing you can do to stop it.”
Being part of a control zone would hurt his business which sends 30 per cent of its produce to South Australia.
“If we can’t send fruit there then we have to start loading more fruit into the other markets and it’s not only us here, it’s all the other producers and that will affect the price and the return we get,” he said.
“Because we’re certified organic we can’t treat using any chemical treatments so we are restricted to where we can send the fruit to.”
Costs mounting for north-west grower
Brett Rosendale, who owns Sheffield Berry Gardens in the north-west said he had lost about $70,000 since becoming part of the Spreyton control zone about six weeks ago.
“[It’s] financially devastating, emotionally terrible,” Mr Rosendale said.
“It’s just heart-wrenching to spend your whole season doing something ready for market then it’s pulled out from under you through no fault of your own.
“Many sleepless nights.”
He said the profits from his business have been wiped out.
“We still have to harvest our fruit as we normally would,” he said.
“We have to have people come in and harvest it and we have to pay them, but we’re not allowed to sell our product.
Original article by ABC News