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Good news for kaffir lime leaf growers

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Commercial kaffir lime leaf growers can now transport kaffir lime leaves to interstate markets for culinary purposes after a protocol detailing an operating procedure for the treatment and movement of kaffir lime leaves was approved by the Australian and state governments.

Northern Territory Chief Plant Health Officer Dr Anne Walters said it had been a tough year for kaffir lime leaf growers in the Northern Territory (NT) since the outbreak of the citrus canker disease in the NT, however there was now a positive light at the end of the tunnel.

“This is great news for our growers and it’s pleasing we have now reached this stage in the response,” she said.

“The disease was detected in the NT in April 2018 and restrictions on the movement of citrus and citrus related products were implemented to prevent the spread of the disease.”

Since that time the Department of Primary Industry and Resources (DPIR) has been working closely with key stakeholders, commercial growers, and the Australian and state governments to have the protocol approved nationally.

CEO of NT Farmers Greg Owens said the kaffir lime leaf growers have been heavily impacted by the trade restrictions that have been placed on them since citrus canker was first detected in the NT.

“I would like to acknowledge and thank the kaffir lime leaf growers for their ongoing compliance, patience and sacrifice with the interstate movement and trade restrictions that have been in place.” Mr Owens said.

Additional quarantine inspections will be required for all leaves commercially grown for interstate markets. The approved procedure is in place to protect Australia’s citrus industry from the citrus canker disease and to ensure the Territory’s produce is disease-free and of continued high quality and assurance.

Dr Walters said the additional inspections were a national requirement, and interstate markets would not accept the Territory’s kaffir lime leaves without them.

“The operating procedures enable growers to return to trade and aligns with the objectives of NT Farmers and DPIR to support growers and industry. The protocol applies only during the life of the National Citrus Canker Eradication Program and will now allow the commercial growers to move produce out of the NT,” said Dr Walters.

Quarantine inspection fees have been waived for the NT commercial kaffir lime leaf growers sending their leaves to interstate markets. This will ensure produce remains competitively-priced and available interstate.

The department will continue to work closely with NT Farmers and kaffir lime leaf growers to ensure their requirements and obligations are understood and met to enable re-commencement of trade as soon as possible.

Further information on the protocol and operating procedure is available by contacting NT Plant Biosecurity at quarantine@nt.gov.au.

Source: NT Government

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