Suspect Seeds Set for Destruction in the Territory
7 September 2020
The Department of Primary Industry and Resources is urging Territorians to be biosecurity aware after local horticulturists received unsolicited seed packets through the mail in September.
Dozens of seed packets have been arriving from Asia, predominantly from China, Malaysia and Taiwan, at addresses around Australia since August, prompting biosecurity fears. The origin, variety and sender of the seeds is unknown.
The seeds may be packaged in any form with various labels of origin, so Territorians are asked to remain diligent if they receive an unexpected package through the mail.
Imported seeds must adhere to strict biosecurity conditions to manage the risk of pests and diseases entering Australia and damaging crops and plans.
The Department of Primary Industry and Resources Chief Plant Health Officer Dr Anne Walters said “imported seeds of unknown origin pose a great biosecurity risk as they can carry harmful diseases or invasive species, which can harm agricultural industries, the natural environment, and our backyard gardens.”
“It’s absolutely critical that people do not plant these seeds or throw them in the bin, as they could end up germinating in landfill and introducing new weeds or diseases into the Northern Territory and Australia,” said Dr Walters.
The department urges anyone who receives unsolicited seeds in the mail to report it to the Plant Pests Hotline on 1800 084 881.
The department is also managing collection of the seeds with drop off locations available across the Territory. Territorians are encouraged to complete a seed analysis and destruction submission form, however drop offs can also be made anonymously at seed collection points.
Seeds deposited at the collection points will be submitted to the Northern Australian Quarantine Strategy (NAQS), with packaging if possible, for type and variety analysis to support the Australian Government’s investigation. Seeds will then be destroyed by autoclaving.
The Northern Territory Government continues to work with the Northern Territory Farmers Association and the Australian Government to protect our industries through raising awareness and supporting the destruction of these seeds.
Drop off locations for suspicious seed packets are located at Berrimah Farm Science Precinct, Northern Territory Farmers Association Coolalinga office, Katherine Research Station, Barkly House at Tennant Creek and in Alice Springs at the Arid Zone Research Institute.
We all need to do our part to safeguard Australia from biosecurity pests and diseases.
For more information on managing suspicious seeds visit nt.gov.au/report-seeds
Helena Bott | 8999 2096