Pitt calls on inspectors to protect Aussie ginger growers

Monday, 15 September 2014

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt is calling on the Department of Agriculture to adhere to the strictest possible import standards when inspecting fresh ginger from Fiji.

The Department of Agriculture recently announced it will lift a ban to allow importers to apply for permits to bring fresh ginger from Fiji into Australia.   

Mr Pitt said growers were understandably concerned about the threat posed by pests and diseases, like burrowing nematode and yam scale.

“I acknowledge that Fiji has exported fresh ginger to New Zealand and the United States for years, but the risk is still very real,” Mr Pitt said.

“There are 49 ginger growers in Australia, who produce around 8000 tonnes a year worth about $35 million.

“The Department of Agriculture has approved the importation of ginger and now it is incumbent upon them to make sure our Australian crops and farmers are protected.”

Mr Pitt said Australia was a member of the World Trade Organisation and, as such, Import Risk Analyses undertaken by the Department were based on science and free of political influence or interference.

“I congratulate Australian Ginger Growers Association chairman Anthony Rehbein for his strong representations on this issue. I’ve taken his concerns to Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce and the Department,” he said.

“The Department assures me that it has very stringent measures in place to ensure biosecurity risks are reduced to the lowest level possible, and that they can review import conditions at any time in light of new scientific information.

“I encourage Australians to support their local farmers and buy Australian-grown ginger.”

[ENDS] Media contact: Larine Statham 0427 653 814