Australia: Fruit fly outbreak takes financial toll on Tasmanian blueberry growers
A blueberry grower on the Australian island state of Tasmania says the fruit fly outbreak has been "financially devastating", ABC News reported.
The pest was first detected in Tasmania in January, and last week a single male fruit fly was found inside a house in suburban Launceston.
The latest discovery is well outside the established control zones at George Town and Spreyton, but some farmers are nervous.
Kent Mainwaring, a blueberry grower who lives 17km from Launceston, fears his property will become part of the control zone if an active population is discovered.
"Unlike blueberry rust, fruit fly's nothing you can protect yourself against. There's nothing you can do to stop it," he was quoted as saying by ABC.
In northern Tasmania, Brett Rosendale said he had lost about AU$70,000 (US$53,000) since his farm became part of the Spreyton control zone six weeks ago.
He said he had frozen as much fruit as possible but is having to sell it at a fraction of the price.
"[It's] financially devastating, emotionally terrible," Rosendale was quoted as saying.
"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.
Meanwhile, another farmer, Marcus Brandsema, said that he had received AU$70,000 in compensation due to the fruit fly battle.
"Payment has been quite prompt and we need it to be because the package that we receive is for funds that we're paying bills like fumigation and labor," he was quoted as saying.