Signing up to the Plant Pass biosecurity scheme will give customers certainty about its products, Whangārei's Lynwood Avocado Nursery says.
Signing up to a new national biosecurity scheme will give a Northland nursery's customers a guarantee that its products are the best around, the company says.
Whangārei's Lynwood Avocado Nursery, which has an extensive nursery in Maunu and supplies up to 95 per cent of the country's avocado trees, is the first grower in Northland to sign up to the Plant Pass biosecurity scheme that was launched this month.
Plant Pass is the plant production sector's commitment to Ko Tātou-This Is Us. Ko Tātou is a Biosecurity New Zealand programme that demonstrates every New Zealander and sector has an essential role in biosecurity.
The multisector plant production biosecurity scheme already has about 40 nurseries registered with 10 fully certified, including Lynwood.
Lynwood customer and technical support manager Sarah Williamson said the company had no qualms about signing up to the scheme because it fitted with Lynwood's values and aims.
''We recognise that biosecurity concerns are probably the biggest threat to the horticulture industry, and it is at the heart of what we do. We wanted, as a company, to minimise the impact and the risk.
''We also want our customers to know that the plants we produce here are the best they can get and that we are following the best practices. We've put the policies in place to make sure we are maintaining them and we are audited as part of the scheme to ensure we are following the procedures.''
The company produces up to 150,000 avocado trees a year and supplies up to 95 per cent of the country's avocado trees, both direct to commercial growers and the public through Mitre 10 and Bunnings.
That's a lot of avocado trees and Williamson said if a biosecurity threat got into the nursery, the country's avocado industry could be at risk. Therefore it was vital that Lynwood was up to date with latest biosecurity threats and how to prevent them.
''More nurseries should sign up to the scheme. It's a great tool to reduce the biosecurity risks that threaten the horticulture industry, and it also gives customers security knowing you are ahead of the game and the plants they buy from you are not going to be an issue.''
Lynwood is a specialist avocado nursery, producing healthy, pest-free, disease-free, certified avocado trees. It produces grafted seedling and clonal rootstock trees that meet or exceed industry standards. Lynwood supplies New Zealand orchards, retail nurseries and clients around the world.
Williamson said the team boasts over a century of avocado experience and can provide people with the best trees and advice.
"On behalf of the Ministry for Primary Industries, Biosecurity New Zealand is proud to be the lead signatory to the Plant Buyers' Accord and support Plant Pass," Stuart Anderson, Biosecurity New Zealand's deputy director-general, said when launching the scheme.
"It demonstrates our commitment to support New Zealand plant producers and aligns with Biosecurity New Zealand's role in protecting Aotearoa from the harmful pests and diseases that can cause damage to our environment, economy and culture.
"Plant producers play a crucial role in New Zealand's biosecurity system and we value this opportunity to work in partnership with other agencies, councils and plant industry bodies on this proactive certification programme."
Plant Pass is the result of three years of work. It is one of similar industry certification schemes already operating in Australia, Britain, Europe, and the United States. It is being funded and organised jointly by MPI and primary sector industry bodies through the Government Industry Agreement (GIA). The GIA Operational Agreement partners are MPI, NZ Avocado, Kiwi Vine Health, NZ Winegrowers, Citrus NZ and NZPPI.
The Plant Buyers' Accord has been established as a mechanism for buyers to influence, encourage or require their plant producers to participate in Plant Pass. Alongside Ministry for Primary Industries, four other major groups have signed the accord: New Zealand Avocado, Kiwifruit Vine Health, the Department of Conservation and Auckland Council.
New Zealand Avocado biosecurity and programme manager Brad Siebert said New Zealand Avocado encourages its growers to buy avocado plants from Plant Pass-certified nurseries. Alongside this, New Zealand Avocado is requiring avocado nurseries to meet the Plant Pass core standard as a prerequisite for the industry's own standard (AHHS).
"We see Plant Pass covering everything required for biosecurity risk mitigation in nurseries so now the AHHS is a module and complementary to Plant Pass. It streamlines the whole process right through to reduced auditing costs and makes achieving good biosecurity more straightforward,'' Siebert said.
For more information, go to www.plantpass.org.nz