Trial into Queensland fruit fly to be the cherry on top for opening export opportunities

LONG TERM VIEW: Caernarvon Cherry Co owner Fiona Hall hopes a fruit fly trial will open up more export opportunities. Photo: PHIL BLATCH 1124pbcherry4

LONG TERM VIEW: Caernarvon Cherry Co owner Fiona Hall hopes a fruit fly trial will open up more export opportunities. Photo: PHIL BLATCH 1124pbcherry4

A NEW fruit fly trial is being rolled-out to 17 cherry growers in the Orange region as part of a long-term plan to open up export opportunities to countries such as China.

The trial has been developed to determine effectiveness of cherry growers’ pest control systems to ensure cherries are blemish and fruit fly free. 

Caernarvon Cherry Co is  among those taking part and owner Fiona Hall said data is being collected from fruit fly traps for the trial. 

“To date there’s been nil detected, which is consistent over several years which suggests we don’t really get Queensland fruit fly until after the cherry season,” she said.

“We’ve never actually detected Queensland fruit fly, [which] keeps us out of a lot of markets so what we need is the data.”

She said by having a government run program it will give them more data to take to future trade negotiations.

She also hopes it will open up radiation as an option to treat cherries for fruit fly, which has been proven safe by several international health bodies. She said the current cold chill treatment, involves cherries being placed in storage at less than one degree for 21 days, which effects the quality of the fruit. 

The federal government is contributing $343,000 to the trial.

Federal member for Calare Andrew Gee said 68 fruit fly traps will be deployed and monitored by NSW Local Land Services.

“Measures to protect these farms from fruit fly include pre-harvest monitoring, with associated chemical treatment where required, and post-harvest inspection,” he said.

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