Australia's apple growers seek $40M to detect disease
Lobby group Apple and Pear Australia Limited (APAL) has called on the country's senate to provide $40 million (US$40.09 million) in funding for technology that detects fireblight in apples, according to AAP.
The story reported that Australian growers feared the bacterial disease could be introduced with New Zealand apples, which was part of the grounds for a 90-year import barrier against their neighbor across the Tasman Sea. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruled against the barrier recently.
Riverina Citrus executive officer Dominic Testoni said that many growers would find detecting fireblight difficult as it had never been in Australia, the story reported.
"Once it gains a foothold in the country it remorselessly spreads," he was quoted as saying.
New Zealand website 3news.co.nz cited an example of fireblight findings in Australia as early as 1997, when scientist Chris Hale found traces of the disease in Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens.
The story reported that the Australian market could be worth US$22.82 million (NZ$30 million) for New Zealand apple exporters.