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Continued Work on Improving Phytosanitary Options for Export of NZ Wood

PF Olsen assisted the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) Biosecurity and Scion host a delegation of Indian scientists and officials touring New Zealand as part of a review of India's phytosanitary standards for the importation of wood products from NZ.

Currently, logs exported to India must be fumigated with methyl bromide to comply with phytosanitary standards. As mentioned in previously in Wood Matters, (see ERMA Recommends Continued Use of Methyl Bromide and Safer and "Greener" Biosecurity Treatment of Export Logs) despite its high efficacy (i.e. it kills bugs really well), methyl bromide is an ozone-depleting gas, is toxic to humans if not handled correctly and is relatively expensive to use. These characteristics have promoted the forestry industry, via its cooperative research and lobby group STIMBR - stakeholders in methyl bromide reduction - to carry out research into alternative fumigation treatments, such as the use of phosphine. This alternative treatment is already accepted by China, NZ's largest export log market.

Up to now, India has insisted on methyl bromide fumigation as they are doubtful of the efficacy of phosphine. The NZ visit was as opportunity not only update our Indian guests on the latest research proving phosphine's efficacy, but also outline the systematic approach NZ takes to biosecurity - including comprehensive forest health surveys, independent log inspections/verification and log traceability.

"Getting phosphine accepted for log exports to India is an important goal for the NZ forest growers", says Peter Weblin, PF Olsen's Marketing Manager. "India is emerging as a significant market for NZ logs and, along with China, is posting impressive economic growth. Acceptance of phosphine [by India] will increase the competitiveness and sales options to this growing market, and strengthen the all-important diversification of our markets."

Peter Weblin assisting with hosting the Indian delegation by presenting a overview of New Zealand production forestry.