• Message from the Manager image

Welcome to autumn 2023, signalling an end to another summer season for many industries, whilst others launch into a new season. No doubt a busy time for all.

I am excited to welcome our new NFFC Independent Chair, Mr John Webster, who joins us with excellent credentials. In his new role, John has already chaired his first NFFC Executive Committee meeting on 15 March in Canberra – the second Executive Committee meeting under the new structure – ensuring he can closely liaise with members on the future of both the council and the delivery of outcomes from the National Fruit Fly Strategy.

The first of our Think Tank webinar series on Market Access was well received with around 200 registered participants, indicating high interest on market access and recognition as an extremely important issue in the fruit fly space. During this webinar we heard the latest on the proposed Australian Horticultural Market Access Research Partnership and its work on delivering enhanced trade outcomes from Dr Penny Measham, Director of RD&E with DAF Qld and leader of the Market Access team. We also received an update from Sally Ormiston, Assistant Director of Market Access Coordination and Strategy at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF). A recording of the webinar is now available on our website.

The Think Tank series of webinars progresses strategic discussions on critical fruit fly issues and assists in identifying priorities for building future national success. Our next webinar in the Think Tank webinar series on the topic of Area Wide Management (AWM) will be held 27 April on, with Dr Heleen Kruger and Dr Hazel Parry presenting. Both are passionate about the AWM approach in meeting key challenges industry, and particularly growers, face. Heleen is a contributing author for ‘The Area Wide Integrated Pest Management’ (a must read for those involved in fruit fly and broader farm management systems).

The webinar series is designed to provide an update on past and current work, draw on successful and practical approaches and case studies both locally and internationally, as well as explore future opportunities and priorities over the horizon. They will culminate in the 2023 National Fruit Fly Symposium in July.

The NFFC are excited to be hosting the National Fruit Fly Symposium from 20 – 21 July 2023 at the National Wine Centre in Adelaide, South Australia. Being our first face-to-face symposium since the fruit fly system community last gathered in 2018, it’s a fantastic opportunity for stakeholders from across the entire fruit fly ecosystem to network, collaborate and collectively work together to map our future.

The Symposium theme, ‘The view over the horizon’, ensures we not only take stock of progress to-date against the National Fruit Fly Strategy, but just as important, explore opportunities that are emerging for future success. Input from stakeholders is a key part of the Symposium, ensuring the long-term goals for improved fruit fly management address industry aspirations, changing risks, and the need for a cooperative approach. Register for the Symposium.

Creating opportunities to enhance trade opportunities and engage with industry and the broader fruit fly research community is one of our highest priorities. To this end, the NFFC has commenced a new series of industry meetings to be held every six months, with both myself and Chris O’Connor attending. These meetings are aimed at providing a more direct industry and regionally-nuanced platform for two-way engagement to ensure timely updates on our progress combatting fruit fly, as well as exploring targeted opportunities into the future.

Additionally, the NFFC is planning a series of regional visits over the next few years. Recently, Chris and I had an excellent few days in south-east Queensland meeting with the CSIRO fruit fly team and visiting the National Export & Market Access Centre for Horticulture at Redlands Research Station. We also caught up with Ben Reilly from Steritech to hear the latest on irradiation as a key management tool for horticulture trade. These visits give us confidence that our future in the fruit fly space is in good hands.

I look forward to catching up with you all at various times throughout the year.

Stuart Burgess

Manager, National Fruit Fly Council