Debate heats up again: pineapple import idea not viable
TALKS have heated up again around the importation of Malaysian pineapples and Gympie grower Chris Doyle says the risk of disease is too great.
If the produce was imported it would bring with it erwinia chrysanthemi, a disease which causes pineapples to rot internally and explode.
Mr Doyle travelled overseas four years ago and he saw infected fruit.
"It was quite frightening," Mr Doyle said.
"No one understands until you've seen it first hand."
Mr Doyle, alongside the Australian Pineapple Board, has been campaigning for two years to stop the proposal after it was announced by the Federal Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry in 2012.
He said the disease was slowly spreading, but should it get in to Australia it would not be stopped.
Once it has infected one patch, it will spread within a month or two.
He also said he could not see the industry surviving if the Federal Government decides to import the produce.
"It just decimates the industry," Mr Doyle said.
If the Malaysian imports went ahead, he said, consumers would also lose a fresh fruit guarantee for their fruit and vegetables.
While Australian pineapple growers are required to complete a fresh fruit audit every year, this would not be the case for the imported pineapples.
"You lose that safety net," Mr Doyle said.
That's why, he said, producers and peak horticulture bodies would continue to place pressure on policy makers.
On a more positive note, Mr Doyle said there were some good things happening in the industry, which included the possibility of a new company on the pineapple market.
And the Amamoor producer has seen some of his best pineapples in 20 years. Good growing conditions mean Mr Doyle should pick around 200,000 tonnes this season.