Experience early in the myrtle rust response underscored the crucial role that plant producers play in early detection and slowing the spread following a pest incursion. Subsequent discussions identified the opportunity to develop a systematic approach to plant production industry biosecurity risk management. Late in 2017, and under the auspices of the myrtle rust response, MPI contracted NZPPI to design a Plant Production Biosecurity Scheme (PPBS).
The proposed Scheme is intended to increase the awareness among plant producers of the risks that exotic and endemic pests pose to their nursery, and grow producers’ adoption of good biosecurity practice to help manage the risk of pest and disease spread. By protecting their nurseries, they also protect customers, the environment and the New Zealand economy.
The Scheme is a step change in producer and industry biosecurity readiness and capability. It will build and broaden industry biosecurity engagement and harness the critical skills and observations that exist in the plant production industry to strengthen biosecurity - and the crucial biosecurity team of 4.7 million New Zealanders. The development of this scheme, and the collaboration among producers, MPI and other plant-based sectors, is a strong illustration of this partnership progressing shared biosecurity interests, further and strongly illustrated through MPI funding for the project.
Work on the Scheme design and proposal is well underway. To date, it is focused on biosecurity hazards that impact a wide range of producers and nursery types and how we can work together to improve nursery and industry biosecurity risk management. The NZPPI team working on this project is gathering data on:
- biosecurity hazards;
- the ways in which nurseries can prepare to prevent being impacted by these hazards; and
- the ways in which hazards can be managed, or the impacts minimised, should a nursery be infested.
We’re under “increasing pressure from terrestrial and aquatic pests, weeds and diseases that threaten the country's ecosystems and economy”. So said a 2015 research paper – read more about this and our work on the Biosecurity Scheme here.