QUEENSLAND ginger growers are now gathering evidence to present to a special senate inquiry into the effect importation of fresh ginger from Fiji will have on the local industry.
Bundaberg grower and chairman of the Australian Ginger Industry Association Anthony Rehbein will lead a team of growers and researchers at the inquiry, to be held in Canberra later this month.
The industry has come into conflict with the Federal Government over its plan to allow Fijian imports of ginger into the country.
Growers fear measures proposed by government body Biosecurity Australia would not be enough to stop the introduction of the soil-borne parasite the burrowing nematode Radotholus similis into the country.
Mr Rehbein said the pest had the potential to completely wipe out the Australian industry if introduced through foreign imports.
"We have heard of up to 70% of marketable yield crops in Fiji being lost," he said.
"As an industry, we're not prepared to gamble with our future and our families' futures."
Australian Ginger Industry Association has demanded Biosecurity Australia conduct full diagnosis of Fijian ginger plantations to identify problem areas and fumigate with methyl bromide.
Mr Rehbein said current management practices such as the use of clean seed, hot water treatments and crop rotation placed the Australian industry at risk.
"Introduction of the burrowing nematode is a very serious and real threat and it needs to be treated accordingly," he said.
The Australian Ginger Growers Association represents the nation's 45 growers who represent a $14 million farm gate and a $100m processing business.
Most of Australia's ginger growers operate between Bundaberg and the Sunshine Coast and in the Lockyer Valley.
The Bundaberg region provides about 30% of the nation's ginger.
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