A destructive plant pest found for the first time in Australia in February cannot be eradicated, so the industry will seek to manage it, rather than destroy it.
The Department of Food and Agriculture WA said last week it would work on a plan to control the tomato potato psyllid, which attacks a range of vegetable crops including tomato, eggplant, capsicum, chilli and tamarillo.
Department biosecurity and regulation executive director Kevin Chennell said the focus would be on control options on Western Australian farms, supply chain management and restoring access to interstate markets.
‘‘Over the past three months, the department has carried out extensive trapping and surveillance throughout Perth and our horticulture production regions to check for the pest and take measures to stop it spreading,’’ Dr Chennell said.
‘‘Commercial and backyard growers are urged to continue to adhere to the movement controls, check their crops and control the psyllid where it is found.’’
The pest was initially found on a Perth property and has since been detected at more than 70 properties, prompting strict regulations on potato exports from WA.
However, the bacteria associated with the pest, which causes disease in host plants, has not been detected.