AU: Hort growers lose fruit fly pesticide fight

Fruit and vegetable growers will this month be banned from using what they say is the only remaining effective fruit-fly pesticide.

Fenthion, a broad-spectrum organophosphorus insecticide used to prevent and treat fruit fly, will be phased out over October. The ban will come after growers have lost significant access to the alternative pesticide dimethoate.

Fruit Fly Action Group spokesman Brett Delsimone said a lack of alternative chemicals or control methods was causing uncertainty in the ­industry and affecting business confidence.

He said Australia’s regulatory system for agricultural chemicals was a “complete failure”.

But Summerfruit Australia chief executive John Moore said growers had adopted new fruit-fly control practices such as baiting and trapping and he was confident the industry would cope without fenthion.

Fruit fly is an increasing problem in Victoria, where it was declared endemic by the State Government in 2013, and there are now more than 100 fruit fly outbreaks in the Sunraysia pest-free area.

Methyl bromide — a potent greenhouse gas that must eventually be phased out under the Montreal Convention on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer — has been allowed for some post-harvest quarantine treatment.

The Nationals last month called for a reassessment of the registration status of fenthion.


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