New agreement to protect NZ tomato industry

A new agreement is set to boost protection of the New Zealand fresh tomato industry from biosecurity threats.

Biosecurity New Zealand and Tomatoes New Zealand have signed a 'Sector Readiness Operational Agreement' which aims to strengthen readiness for incursions of specific pests and pathogens.

Under the agreement, Biosecurity NZ and TomatoesNZ will jointly agree and fund activities to improve preparedness for incursions of pests and pathogens that are considered a major concern to the fresh tomato industry.

Biosecurity NZ’s Acting Director, Biosecurity Readiness and Response Services, Andrew Spelman said it solidifies the organisations’ existing GIA (Government Industry Agreement) partnership that has developed over the past few years.

"We're all responsible for protecting Aotearoa from pests and pathogens, and this agreement under the GIA aligns with the wider Ko Tātou This Is Us Biosecurity 2025 programme to improve NZ’s biosecurity system," he said.

Chair of TomatoesNZ Barry O’Neil said the agreement is an important development in the protection of the fresh tomato industry from biosecurity threats. 

"Our work on readiness will be focused on detecting pests and pathogens rapidly so we will have a high chance of eradication," he said.

The agreement will initially focus on preparing for incursions of tomato leafminer (Tuta absoluta) and the tomato strain of pepino mosaic virus. 

This pest and pathogen have been identified as high priority by TomatoesNZ and Biosecurity NZ, with more pests and pathogens to be added over time.

Tomato leafminer and pepino mosaic virus are not currently present in New Zealand.