At least two key Asian markets will allow Tasmanian fruit growers to perform their own biosecurity checks over the upcoming summer season, reducing costs and shortening supply times.
To date, China, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Thailand have all required government appointed inspection bodies to carry out pre-clearance checks on cherries and stonefruit prior to export.
Last summer, staff from Biosecurity Tasmania raised concerns over the workload during the height of the season, while suppliers have faced delays to their sales programmes while they await inspections.
Speaking with ABC Rural, Tasmanian Primary Industries minister Jeremy Rockliff said two of the Asian nations had given approval to industry-based officer to take over the inspections.
“After months of work, industry-based officers have been endorsed by the Australian Government," Rockliff explained. "I am extremely confident they will be in place for two important overseas markets in time for the upcoming harvest season. This is a move that reduces costs for producers and gets their produce to market quicker."
Tasmanian cherry grower Hansen Orchards has already begun training three of its staff to conduct the necessary biosecurity checks. The company’s managing director Howard Hansen expected the move to create a smoother transition from harvest to export.
“It's a lot easier to resource than relying on departmental staff to be available when we require them,” Hansen said.