The value of being fruit fly free
South Australia remains the only Australian mainland state that is fruit fly free and this status has significant benefits to our state, including:
- Protecting the commercial production of fruit, vegetables, wine grapes and almonds, particularly in the Riverland and Murraylands; the estimated farm-gate value of produce vulnerable to fruit fly is approximately $1.3 billion
- Securing access to lucrative export markets including Japan, USA and New Zealand, worth around $72 m in 2018–19
- Ability for residents to grow fruit and vegetables at home with fewer pesticides.
- Saving the citrus industry an estimated $4.2 million a year because cold and chemical treatments are not needed.
Being fruit fly free means you can grow your fruit and fruiting vegetables with the assurance it is free from maggots. Every year the South Australian government spends about $5 million keeping fruit fly and other pests out of the state. Particular focus is given to protecting South Australia’s key horticultural production area, the Riverland.
Riverland Pest Free Area
South Australia’s Riverland region is formally recognised as a Pest Free Area for fruit fly. This means it is free of both Queensland fruit fly and Mediterranean fruit fly. This Pest Free Area status is internationally recognised by key export markets including the United States, Thailand, Japan and New Zealand.
Produce from the Riverland can be shipped directly to key export countries without the need for disinfestation treatments for fruit fly, which reduces costs and delays for producers and exporters across the supply chain.
South Australia’s citrus industry is the main benefactor of the Riverland’s Pest Free Area status, exporting $72 million in 2018–19 to Japan, USA and New Zealand. Stonefruit production is also an important and growing horticultural sector in the Riverland that benefits from the status.
PIRSA supports the maintenance and ongoing status of the Riverland Pest Free Area by maintaining and inspecting more than 1000 fruit fly traps in the region on a weekly basis in the warmer months, and fortnightly in the cooler months.
The Pest Free Area is surrounded by quarantine bins with signage highlighting quarantine restrictions to travellers entering the region. PIRSA also operates the Riverland’s Yamba Quarantine Station 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, as well as random roadblocks, stopping and checking all traveller and commercial vehicles for produce where fruit fly may live.