Let’s talk
PGA WA hosted a high-profile biosecurity sundowner in February that saw the launch of a new manual and a series of expert talks.

Biosecurity was the hot topic at the Potato Growers Association of WA (PGA WA) sundowner event at Tall Timbers Restaurant in Manjimup on February 16. Nearly 35 growers and stakeholders attended to hear the latest biosecurity updates and the launch of the new WA Potato Industry Biosecurity Manual.

Simon Moltoni, CEO of the PGA WA, kicked off proceedings with the launch of the manual, which was developed by the PGA WA in collaboration with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) and AUSVEG with funding by the Agriculture Produce Commission potato fee for service.

“The new biosecurity manual has been designed to be user-friendly for growers, explaining their rights and responsibilities, current threats and links to online resources with QR codes throughout,” says Simon.

The newly appointed Chair of the Agriculture Produce Commission (APC) Monica Radomiljac was also at the event. She addressed the audience, explaining the role of the APC to industry and what that means for our membership. Her address was followed by a series of talks by:

· Vincent Lanoiselet, Deputy Chief Plant Biosecurity Officer DPIRD· David Cousins, Senior Biosecurity Officer, DPIRD· David Tooke, Manager of WA Certified Seed Potato Scheme, DPIRD· Patrick Fox, Grower, and Exporter· Glen Ryan, APC Potato Producers Committee (APC PPC) Chair and Grower

“ The new biosecurity manual [is] user-friendly for growers, explaining their rights and responsibilities, current threats and links to online resources with QR codes throughout.  Vincent Lanoiselet spoke about the national biosecurity framework and Emergency Plant Response Deed, and how the system works on a local level. Vincent also highlighted a few specific potential threats and how the department tracks and manages these to protect the agriculture industry in WA.

David Cousins presented an example of how a response to an incursion works, and the resources that can be activated to manage the threat to industry. David Tooke then reminded growers about the responsibilities each grower has to report any potential threats. He warned that the consequences of not doing so can be far reaching and devastating for individual businesses and the WA potato industry as a whole.

Patrick Fox emphasised the critical nature of biosecurity from an export perspective, including maintaining market access for trade and WA’s clean and green image. When you consider the potential for expansion of WA potato exports in the future, this is especially important.

In wrapping up, Glen Ryan discussed the APC PPC functions and how the funding process works, and projects that are currently funded.

Following the presentations, attendees were able to network and chat further with our presenters about any concerns, and we all enjoyed catching up over nibbles and drinks.