Australia’s Chief Plant Protection Officer visit to Fiji strengthens Pacific plant biosecurity

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21 March 2022, AU: Australia’s Chief Plant Protection Officer Dr Gabrielle Vivian-Smith accompanied by Dr Sophie Peterson, Director for Pacific Engagement and International Plant Health, are traveling to Fiji to strengthen ties with key Fijian plant health representatives.

Dr Vivian-Smith said this was part of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s Pacific Engagement Program for regional plant health and biosecurity under the Commonwealth Biosecurity 2030 strategic roadmap.

“The Pacific Engagement Program will strengthen biosecurity systems of our near neighbours and enhance regional plant health networks,” Dr Vivian-Smith said.

“Building regional biosecurity with our Pacific neighbours will in turn strengthen Australia’s biosecurity and help protect us from exotic plant pests.

“I look forward to deepening existing relationships and forging new partnerships in Fiji to deliver capacity development activities both in Fiji and in neighbouring countries in the Pacific region.”

Whilst in Fiji, the delegation will attend the Executive Committee meeting of the Pacific Plant Protection Organisation (PPPO), building on the monthly virtual Talanoa sessions that have been so valuable in connecting the PPPO members.

“We will meet with representatives from the Fijian Government’s Ministry of Agriculture, including visiting their biosecurity laboratories, and engage with staff from the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji and the Pacific Community,” Dr Vivian-Smith said.

“This visit will also strengthen relationships with staff from the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Program (PHAMA Plus), following the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding in October 2021.”

Meetings with the Fijian Market Access Working Group, established by PHAMA program, as well as meetings with Kava industry stakeholders involved in the Australian Kava pilot also feature in the program.

Follow updates on the Fiji trip via LinkedIn @Gabrielle Vivian-Smith.

Fast Facts

  • The Australian Chief Plant Protection Office, led by Dr Gabrielle Vivian-Smith has established a dedicated Pacific Engagement and International Plant Health Program to build regional partnerships for enhanced biosecurity in the Pacific region.
  • The department’s Commonwealth Biosecurity 2030 strategic roadmap commits to deepening partnerships with Australia’s near neighbours to build capacity and strengthen national and regional engagement with key international bodies.
  • The visit to Fiji will also include meetings with the Australian High Commissioner to Fiji and Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade colleagues based in Suva.
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