Council pleads for fruit fly funding

By Yarrawonga Chronicle

Moira Shire Council has voted unanimously to advocate to the Minister for Agriculture the Hon Jaclyn Symes for continued funding of the Goulburn Murray Valley Regional Fruit Fly Program (GMVRFFP) over the next three years. 

Mayor Libro Mustica said QFF was a constant threat to the region’s annual production of hundreds of thousands of tonnes of fruit and vegetables that can act as hosts for the insect. 

“This program has achieved a 60% reduction in QFF populations between 2017 – 19,” Cr Mustica said. 

“It continues to design innovative approaches to manage QFF with the most recent being undertaking a Sterile Insect Technique trial where sterile male fruit flies were released in the Cobram area. 

“The program’s success has been acknowledged recently by receiving the Regional Achiever of the Year Award as well as winning first place in the Prime Super Agricultural Innovation Awards.” 

The GMVRFFP is a partnership between Agriculture Victoria, Fruit Growers Victoria, Cobram and District Fruit Growers Association and Campaspe, Shepparton, Strathbogie, Berrigan and Moira councils as well as Lions International District 201V6. 

The Victorian Government has already contributed $2.4 million ($800,000 per year) to this program with funding scheduled to cease in June 2020. 

“Continued effective QFF control via this program helps prevent a major environmental threat to horticulture through education and host tree removal and monitoring,” Cr Mustica said. 

“This also helps the environment in limiting chemical control measures. 

“It is absolutely critical the Victorian State Government continues to protect the region’s $762.5 million fruit and vegetable industry which support approximately 5,000 jobs. 

“This is also a substantial export industry with significant growth potential.”