A company in Cairns has been fined $12000 for illegally importing coffee seeds that were infested with Coffee Berry Borer.
These beetles, whilst sounding completely delicious, are among one of the most harmful pests to coffee crops all around the world.
The Cairns Magistrate Court found that the company breached Section 77(3) of the Quarantine Act 1908 and imported three consignments of seeds without an import permit in order to gain a commercial advantage.
“It is disappointing and frustrating when intentional non-compliance is detected because the rules are there to protect our $51 billion agricultural industries, environment and way of life,” said Raelene Vivian, the Department of Agriculture’s head of compliance.
“These actions can—and do—have a very real impact on the ground. The Australian Government Department of Agriculture, along with our Queensland colleagues and coffee growers in the Cairns-area, worked quickly to contain and manage the detection when it was made in early 2013. What people don’t see are the significant efforts and resources that are required for surveillance and eradication so that Australia can claim freedom from the pest that has the potential to wipe out our domestic coffee industry.”
“We need the help of all those involved in importing goods to Australia, as well as the wider community, to be alert to suspect pest and disease symptoms – and to report them,” Ms Vivian said.
People can report suspect plant pests or diseases to the See, Secure, Report Hotline on 1800 798 636 Australia-wide.
Source credit: Department of Agriculture
Image credit: padil.gov.au & agritech.tnau.ac.in