THE issue surrounding the danger of exotic pests and diseases being introduced to Australia through ginger imports from Fiji had been addressed with the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) who granted Fiji approval to export fresh ginger rhizomes under specific biosecurity conditions.
A senate inquiry into the risks associated with importing Fiji ginger was heightened by concerns this week from farmers abroad that the strict quarantine measures would not fully protect Australian crops.
The Australian farmers referenced the pest burrowing nematodes that, according to researcher Graham Stirling, caused ginger rhizomes to rot and eventually become "completely obliterated".
However, Biosecurity Authority of Fiji chief executive officer Elvis Silverstrini said the DAFF biosecurity initiated Fiji's market access request in 2010 as a standard Import Risk Analysis.
"After years of consultation and exchange of information, DAFF issued a statement on August 10 this year permitting Fiji market access for ginger," Mr Silverstrini said.
"The Australian provisional final import risk analysis (IRA) report for Fiji ginger identified yam scale and burrowing nematode as quarantine pests of concern to Australia which needs to be managed.
"The report proposed a combination of management measures including that the ginger must be grown with infield management controls or undergo a post harvest treatment for burrowing nematode and undergo inspection and certification by BAF, together with fumigation of consignments."
Fiji exports more than 830,000 kilograms of ginger worth $6million annually.
The senate findings will be released next month.