MPI stepping up with in wake of rural seed incursions

Columns
Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean said she congratulated the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) on their handling of recent rural seed incursions.

"We already have strong border controls in place to stop contaminated seed from entering New Zealand, but MPI has recently stepped up to safeguard the rural sector with additional safety checks.

“It has also acted quickly to introduce new interim measures which will provide another layer of biosecurity until we know exactly how the contaminated fodder beet seeds entered the country.

“MPI, in partnership with groups like DairyNZ, Federated Farmers and AgResearch, has also acted quickly in addressing the recent velvetleaf outbreak, developing farm management plans to assist those affected in Otago and Southland.

“To help stop the spread, MPI’s has also placed an immediate ban on all fodder beet seed lines known to be contaminated with velvetleaf.

“There’s also a new requirement for sign-off by one of MPI's 2 chief technical officers before all other fodder beet seed can be released at the border and all pelleted seed imports (not just fodder beet) will be subjected to laboratory testing for contaminants.

“The new interim measures will provide another layer of biosecurity and reassure farmers that everything is being done to protect their businesses.

“On top of this they have been working with Federated Farmers and other arable industry groups to investigate the recent detection of blackgrass seeds during a routine sampling of rye grass seed in Canterbury last month.

“It’s disappointing for farmers to be faced with these incursions, but it’s heartening that MPI is being so vigilant and responding promptly to these events as they occur.

“These are testing times for the rural sector, already under pressure financially, but I congratulate MPI on doing what they can to support farmers.

“It also highlights how we must continue to be vigilant in maintaining New Zealand’s biosecurity and protecting our agricultural sector from unwanted pests.

“The Government continues to work hard to ensure that our borders are protected because we understand the significance of the rural sector to this country’s economic well-being.”

 

Authorised by Jacqui Dean MP, 127 Thames Street, Oamaru