The National Management Group (NMG) for tomato potato psyllid (TPP) – comprising all Australian governments, affected industries and Plant Health Australia – has agreed to a transition to management phase to manage the ongoing impacts of TPP and risks of Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLso) in Australia.
The transition to management phase of the response plan, which will conclude on 11 May 2018, will improve the capacity of the horticulture sector to manage TPP and build confidence around the status of CLso in Australia. Activities will include supporting surveillance, market access activities, research and enterprise management planning. This follows an earlier decision by the NMG that it is no longer technically feasible to eradicate TPP in Western Australia.
To date, the CLso associated with TPP has not been detected in Australia. This exotic pathogen causes the serious exotic disease ‘zebra chip’ in potato and poses a threat to important horticultural crops such as potatoes, capsicums, chillies, tomatoes, eggplants and tamarillos.
The announcement follows the appointment of a dedicated TPP Coordinator to help the vegetable and potato industries coordinate this response. The coordinator is funded as a result of a strategic levy investment project under various Hort Innovation funds including Potato Processing, Fresh Potato and Vegetable.
AUSVEG will manage the project with Mr Alan Nankivell acting as National TPP Coordinator. Mr Nankivell has an extensive background in horticulture, including previous roles as CEO of Vinehealth Australia and as a Research Coordinator for the Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre.
AUSVEG CEO James Whiteside welcomed the announcement of the plan, saying it is a critical step, along with the recruitment of Mr Nankivell as TPP Coordinator, to ensure the vegetable and potato industries have the resources in place to effectively manage the pest.
“The incursion of TPP in Western Australia has been devastating for growers in the state. Trade restrictions have caused channels to market to be severely disrupted or cut off, leading to an oversupplied state domestic market,” said Mr Whiteside.
“The vegetable and potato industries are greatly affected by the incursion of this pest and it is important that they have the required resources to support the implementation of a management plan by federal and state governments and affected industries that can limit its impact.
“Having Alan on board to help coordinate this response will also be hugely beneficial to ensure our industries can effectively manage this pest.”
The transition to management phase of the response plan has been developed in consultation with affected industry groups and allows jurisdictions and industries to maintain a program of national surveillance. The Australian Government, state and territory governments and affected industries are contributing to the cost of implementing the Response Plan under the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed.