Details of the proposed importation of potatoes from New Zealand have been aired in a teleconference between Biosecurity Australia and representatives of the Guyra District Potato Growers Association.

The teleconference was arranged by the Nationals Senator for New South Wales John Williams after the Association wrote to him airing their concerns about a disease called zebra chip.

The disease was detected in New Zealand potatoes several years ago, and Australian growers are concerned the disease could spread to Australia with the imports.

Senator Williams approached  First Assistant Secretary with Plant Biosecurity Dr. Colin Grant about their concerns, and Dr. Grant and two other officers agreed to a phone hook-up with the Guyra producers.

“Guyra is regarded as a clean seed growing area. Just in that area alone it generates $300,000 in wages annually.

The Association rightly had concerns that zebra chip disease could be imported and be disastrous for their industry.

Dr. Grant assured them if the imports proceed, there will be strict quarantine conditions, and the potatoes will not be sold as fresh product, but will be processed as chips and crisps.

Any residue will be incinerated.

I thank Biosecurity Australia for this hands-on approach and I know the Association representatives had many of their concerns addressed”, Senator Williams said.