CitrusWatch bolsters industry biosecurity capacity

February 28, 2023

The Australian citrus industry is a large and vibrant horticultural industry, with over 28,000 hectares of citrus planted by approximately 1,400 growers . This industry provides significant value to rural communities and the wider economy, and without adequate preparedness future biosecurity threats pose serious risks to the $942 million industry. The establishment of exotic pests could have major financial ramifications for producers, regional areas, as well as national exports.

One year ago, a new five-year national biosecurity program called CitrusWatch was launched to protect the citrus industry from harmful exotic pests and diseases. Funded by Hort Innovation using the citrus research and development levy, the Plant Health Australia (PHA) biosecurity levy and contributions from the Australian Government, the program aims to expand surveillance, conduct industry training, lead risk assessment and modelling and improve governance and collaboration.   The Northern Territory Department of Industry Tourism and Trade (NT DITT) and research group, Cesar Australia, provides surveillance, communication and research support.

Between August 2022 and January 2023, the project:

  • reviewed the Threat Summary Tables and is finalising the development of a Biosecurity Implementation Plan
  • developed communication material to support surveillance and biosecurity awareness;

– developed an online training course to assist with surveillance and diagnostics of citrus psyllids. This course is expected to be launched in early 2023
– raised awareness through articles published in Australian Citrus News
– recorded a ‘who’s watching your citrus’ podcast episode for Citrus Australia’s full bottle podcast.

  • Continued to develop Pathway Risk Assessment models to help identify high risk areas.
  • Completed Spring sticky trapping in southern and northern Australia.
  • Completed targeted surveillance activities in 3 urban and 1 commercial citrus production area in Darwin, Sydney and Melbourne.
  • Supported the development, review and refinement of a National Surveillance Protocols (NSP) for Citrus Canker.

More info:

Hort Innovation | Citrus industry biosecurity preparedness strategy (CT20006) (horticulture.com.au)

Biosecurity – CITRUS AUSTRALIA