Australia: Psyllid pest a threat to agricultural exports

Southern Forests produce is stuck in Western Australia after the detection of an exotic pest forced the region’s growers into lock down. While the tomato potato psyllid has been detected across 25 properties in the Perth area, it has not been detected in regional areas. New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland have introduced movement controls on WA produce, including potatoes, tomatoes and eggplant. Department of Food and Agriculture chief plant biosecurity officer John van Schagen said potatoes from WA could not be shipped interstate under interim movement controls. There is not only concern for the psyllid but the bacterium, which causes the zebra chip disease, making potatoes unmarketable. The bacteria has not yet been discovered with the psyllid in Australia. Southern Forests Food Council produce coordinator John Kilrain said DAFWA needed resources to stop the pest spreading. More