Cucumber Green Mottle Mosaic Virus Quarantine Controls Lifted

Cucumber Green Mottle Mosaic Virus Quarantine Controls Lifted

Northern Territory Minister for Primary Industry and Fisheries Gary Higgins

Growers Gain Certainty As Quarantine Lifted

Victor P Taffa

Northern Territory growers have greater certainty to produce and sell cucurbits with the lifting of quarantine controls around Cucumber Green Mottle Mosaic Virus (CGMMV) yesterday.

The Northern Territory Government has been on the front line working with growers and key stakeholders to contain and limit the spread of CGMMV since the disease was first detected in the Northern Territory and the consequent quarantine controls including restrictions for interstate market access was put in place in 2014.

Minister for Primary Industry and Fisheries Gary Higgins said in December 2015 a national group of experts made up of affected industries, regulators and scientists considered the best available science on CGMMV.

National agreement was reached about management of CGMMV in the Northern Territory and Australia, and this agreement has enabled quarantine controls in the Territory to the lifted.

“The measures see growers empowered to manage CGMMV locally through on-farm biosecurity rather than government regulation.” Minister Higgins said.

“This marks an important step forward in the control of this plant pest and gives more control back into the hands of growers.”

“The Northern Territory Government is committed to working with industry and the community to manage CGMMV and to rebuild our cucurbit industry.”

“In 2014, the gross value of product (GVP) of the Northern Territory’s curcurbit industry was $49 Million, exclusive of Asian vegetables.” Minister Higgins said.

CGMMV can appear as mosaic-like mottling in leaves and fruit and symptoms include rotting, yellowing or dirty-red discolouring of the internal fruit.

The disease can spread easily and remain viable for an extended period of time in plant debris and soil or on vehicles, equipment and tools.

“Growers will be required to have an auditable farm biosecurity plan in place for each property to manage the risk of spreading CGMMV and will be encouraged to only use seeds which have been tested in accordance with national seed testing guidelines.”

CGMMV has been detected in 15 out of a potential 160 curcurbit production properties in the Northern Territory, within that 15 the majority are large scale commercial watermelon farms.

Approvals to move soil and nursery stock including seeds, seedlings and tissue culture will be required as per normal practice for many plant industries in Australia.

CCMMV has been detected in a number of developed countries and does not have any impact on human health.

The pest has also been found in one property in Queensland which is believed to be a direct trace from a Northern Territory property.

It has not been found anywhere else in Australia at this point.