Local groups funded in fight against fruit fly

06 Aug 2018 Wangaratta Chronicle, Wangaratta VIC (General News) by Leah Anderson-Byrne SEVERAL community groups are banding together to tackle the Queensland fruit fly (QFF) head on after being awarded a shared amount of $18,311 funding from the State Government. Greta Valley, Whorouly and Warby Range Landcare groups with the Wangaratta Farmers Market are planning to have four strategically located fruit fly information sessions and subsidised fruit fly exclusion netting to backyard orchardists. They are also looking to increase community awareness regarding QFF. Wangaratta Sustainability Network chair Tony Lane said the sessions aim to draw interest to continue planning to fight the fruit fly, promote sustainability and create cooperation within the community. Were not the experts, we will bring them in at the sessions, he said. But we want to begin the initiative and let people know its about helping themselves, instead of relying on someone else to fix the problem. The removal of trees and support for backyard orchardists will help people living alone who dont have the capacity to look after their backyard at all times. Wangaratta Farmers Market manager Mary Daly said the initiative is also about food sustainability and bringing back the fun of gardening. Theres nothing more frustrating than seeing all your hard work and effort eaten by fruit flies, she said. We hope these sessions, while educational, will create a fun atmosphere so the community gets behind the fruit fly fight as well, because they want to save their own gardens. The initiative will be based on wide engagement and many partnerships within the community in an attempt to provide the skills and knowledge or action to be taken. Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria) said Queensland fruit fly is a serious pest, and a collaborative approach is needed to reduce its impact on the states horticultural industries, which are worth $1.1 billion to Victorias export economy. Managing fruit fly is everyones responsibility and these grants enable industry and the community to take ownership of QFF in their area, which we know gives us the best result, she said.