New Zealand’s $4B Fruit, Veggie Export Market Under Threat Due to 1 Queensland Fruit Fly in Northland

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By Vittorio Hernandez | January 24, 2014 9:03 AM EST

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Horticulture New Zealand warned the country's fruit and vegetable exporters that their produce could be blocked by overseas market because one pesky Queensland fruit fly in Northland was discovered.

The insect was collected using a trap near the Whangarei port on Tuesday and was formally identified on Wednesday.

At risk is a $4-billion horticulture industry since more of the insect could result in damaged crops of growers, which could lead to exporters closing their doors on New Zealand fruits and veggies - the country's fourth largest export earner.

The Ministry for Primary Industries confirmed the presence of the Queensland fruit fly in the Parihaka area and placed more traps.

Andrew Coleman of the ministry said it is important to determine if it was just one insect or a whole colony in Whangarei which could damage a bigger range of fresh produce.

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To restrict the movement of fruits and veggies, MPI set a controlled area, a 1.5-kilometre circular zone in parts of Parihaki, Riverside and central Whangarei. Whole fresh fruits and vegetables from that controlled area cannot be moved out.

Residents were also advised not to place their veggies in the compost but in a waste disposal unit or special bins provided by the MPI.

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(Photo: Reuters / )
RPI is calculated from the average price changes in a number of goods and services (Reuters)
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