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Farmers welcome cover of Varroa Shortfall

The Minister of Biosecurity has agreed to work with South Island regional councils and MAF to overcome the shortfall in funding for surveillance while the Varroa Pest Management Strategy (PMS) is put into place, says Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) National Board member Neil Barton.

In a meeting today Hon Jim Sutton restated his commitment to a Cook Strait movement control line funded in the interim by MAF until the Varroa PMS is in place.

"Minister Sutton is committed to the eradication of South Island incursions provided MAF advise that an eradication programme is feasible, said Mr Barton.

"MAF has already worked with industry to prepare an incursion response by building on the research in 2000 and eradication trials undertaken in the last 12 months by Hort Research and South Island beekeepers.

"The Varroa Planning Group now has a definite timetable to work to for securing a PMS to keep the South Island free of Varroa for as long as possible.

"The Varroa Planning Group in conjunction with South Island Regional Councils and Unitary Authorities has to devise a funding and collection strategy for the Varroa PMS with a start date 1 July 2004.

"It is in the interests of all New Zealand farmers and beekeepers that everything possible is done to ensure that the South Island remains Varroa free."

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