New cases of a destructive plant pest that has halted potato exports from Western Australia to the eastern states have been found in Perth.
The tomato potato psyllid was recently found for the first time in Australia on crops in Perth.
On Monday, Western Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Food said the pest had been found on commercial and backyard vegetable crops, at a nursery and on seedlings at three retail stores.
The psyllid attacks a range of plants including potato, sweet potato, tomato, eggplant, capsicum, chilli and tamarillo and is a significant production pest in the United States, Central America and New Zealand.
Since being found in New Zealand a decade ago, it has cost about $60million each year for growers to manage it.
The Perth metropolitan area was declared an agricultural quarantine zone on Tuesday and restrictions will remain in place until the end of June.
Commercial producers can’t move host plants or machinery, equipment, soil or gardening items used with host plants out of the quarantine area.
NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland introduced movement controls on affected produce from Western Australia last week, and potatoes can’t be exported as growers can’t meet the requirements.