Pig industry leaders in New Zealand are at the forefront of a new biosecurity partnership with their country’s government which gives them equal say in the decision-making process during a major disease outbreak.
The producers organisation NZPork recently signed up to the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) for Biosecurity Readiness and Response. Backed by the country’s Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI), the GIA sets the legal framework for NZPork’s participation with MPI as regards producers’ readiness to deal with priority biosecurity risks. It also gives the industry an equal voice in decisions in the event of an exotic disease incursion.
NZPork leaders, who have taken a cautious approach to the partnership since the idea was first unveiled in 2013, say they still have “concerns about how biosecurity is being managed” but believe that the GIA creates an “opportunity for us to partner with government in a very real and practical way on some priority issues”.
“We are now at the point of commencing work with MPI to clarify what our joint minimum commitments entail and then identifying any additional readiness activities we may jointly put in place,” an NZPork spokesperson told Pig World today, following the publication of a five-year “living plan” for GIA.
“Before undertaking any additional activities, NZPork would provide a cost benefit analysis to our farmers and seek their endorsement before investing any funds. The principle driving NZPork’s support for a GIA is that we will get the best biosecurity from working in partnership with MPI, with an equal voice, importantly in regard to any response. Our farmers are very biosecurity aware, knowledgeable and strongly support this position.”