Use your melon: be biosecurity aware
As Australia grapples with the continued threat and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the local melon industry is hoping that the new sense of understanding around the spread of disease will be applied to people travelling in the horticultural sector.
As part of a broader biosecurity project, Melons Australia has developed a video series to highlight the part that holidaymakers can play in maintaining strong on-farm biosecurity.
The three videos explain in simple terms the easy steps travellers can take to make sure they don’t unwittingly take pests or diseases into melon growing areas of Australia.
Melons Australia Biosecurity Officer Joanna Embry says the campaign will initially be targeted towards growing regions in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland, where harvest is underway from August through to December.
“Despite current travel restrictions between states, there are still plenty of local travellers who are choosing to explore their own backyards for the first time, which makes our biosecurity message doubly important,” Embry says.
“As we’ve all learnt this year, minimising the risks of pest and disease really does take a collaborative effort. A grower can do all the right things and have the tightest levels of biosecurity, but all it takes it one minor incident – like a well-meaning holidaymaker stepping onto their paddock – for a major biosecurity breach to occur.”
Embry says one of the most common problems melon growers face in maintaining farm biosecurity is holidaymakers who enter farms without permission to look at or pick fruit.
“Melon farms are often in remote areas, but are near areas of natural beauty that attract travellers and backpackers, so we really hope that holidaymakers of all travel demographics learn something from these short videos and that the travel sector gets behind our awareness campaign,” she says.
“We’d like all travellers to know how much all Australian melon growers and the broader horticulture and agriculture industries appreciate their efforts.”
To view the video series, visit the Melons Australia website.