BLUEBERRY growers have offered to provide replacement plants to the small berry farmers who were affected by the rust outbreak in Tasmania.
Fruit Growers Tasmania business development manager Phil Pyke said yesterday the offer had come from other growers to provide plants to help replace those destroyed.
biosecurity personnel removed rust affected blueberry plants from Mountain Fruit Berry Farm
A team from Biosecurity Tasmania had been at the Mountain Fruit Berry farm at Barrington of father and son growers Heinz and Ronald Schwind for the past two days destroying rust-infected blueberry plants and all their blueberry plants.
The plants were quarantined in December and an eradication notice was issued.
It followed an outbreak of blueberry rust in Tasmania which has been traced back to a breach in Victoria.
A second Coastal berry grower also had infested blueberry plants removed from their property.
Biosecurity Tasmania said rust infected blueberries were located at 41 properties in the state, mostly residential properties, the two small farms and a couple of nurseries were selling affected plants.
The growers are being assisted by FGT to seek legal advice and work out the commercial value of lost crops and to see what options there are to make a compensation claim.
Minister for Primary Industries Jeremy Rockliff had not commented on who should pay compensation to the berry farmers.
“Industry cooperation with biosecurity operations is vital to ensure our state’s relative exotic pest and disease free status remains,” Mr Rockliff said.
“We appreciate the cooperation of Fruit Growers Tasmania and the growers in what is a very difficult time.
“The government has been in regular contact with those affected by this and will continue to work closely with the industry, stakeholders and our Victorian counterparts as we work through this outbreak.
“Our focus remains on eradication and returning to blueberry rust-free status.”
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