CitrusWatch: A multi-pronged, partnership approach

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CitrusWatch: A multi-pronged, partnership approach


Wednesday, 29th Mar 2023

CitrusWatch: a multi-pronged, partnership approach to surveillance and biosecurity preparedness

With Dr Sharyn Taylor, National Manager, Surveillance, Plant Health Australia.

FRIDAY 20 MAY 02:00 - 03:00PM AEST

The Australian Citrus industry is a significant horticultural industry with production made up of oranges, mandarins, lemons, limes, grapefruit, and tangelos.

In 2019/20, the national citrus crop was valued at $942.4 million, the highest annual value of production ever achieved by the industry. Numerous exotic High Priority Pests (HPPs) have been identified that have the potential to significantly impact the viability of the Australian citrus industry and associated supply chain.

The most serious threat is from Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus, the cause of Huanglongbing, and its psyllid vectors, African citrus psyllid (Trioza erytreae) and Asian citrus psyllid (Diaphorina citri).

The pest complex has resulted in significant loss of trees in all countries where it has become established, forcing growers to leave the industry, and costing millions of dollars in research, development, extension, and management.

As a result of the impact of pests such as Huanglongbing, the Australian citrus industry has long understood the importance of emerging biosecurity threats and has invested in biosecurity programs over the last few years.

Building on these previous industry investments, the citrus industry has launched a new five-year biosecurity program: CitrusWatch. CitrusWatch is a collaborative, national program that will reach commercial production zones, as well as high-density, high-traffic urban and peri-urban regions, to foster informed, aware and engaged early detectors from both industry and the general public.

The project team comprises Plant Health Australia, Citrus Australia, the NT Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade and Cesar Australia. The team has strong links with the Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy, other plant industries, and research and extension programs.

Funded by Hort Innovation and the citrus industry through its PHA levy, the program ultimately aims to ensure the Australian citrus industry is better prepared for harmful HPPs, retains access to key markets through robust surveillance data, and has the surveillance mechanisms and expertise to quickly detect, identify and address citrus HPPs.

Dr Sharyn Taylor

Dr Sharyn TaylorNational Manager, Surveillance, Plant Health Australia

Dr Sharyn Taylor has over 15 years’ experience in plant biosecurity. This role includes management of several industry-government surveillance partnerships and national data and information systems, as well as development of surveillance strategies, and support material for industry biosecurity activities.

She leads the Hort Innovation project that funds the new CitrusWatch program, bringing experience from previous work undertaken with the citrus industry to improve surveillance for their highest priority exotic pest threats.

Dr Taylor has worked as a Program Manager in both Plant Biosecurity CRC and the Grains Research and Development Corporation, coordinating large R&D portfolios, in the establishment, monitoring and reporting on large research programs.

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