200-plus seeds packages confiscated by BAF in five months

A TOTAL of 240 packages of seeds have been confiscated and destroyed from April to August this year by the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji.

These are all types of seed that include vegetable seeds, ornamental seeds which are flower seeds and tree seeds.

BAF head of communications Riten Gosai said they had recently noticed a hike in the number of seed parcels being imported through e-commerce.

He said that those seed parcels increased the risk of pests and seed-borne diseases because people were going behind the biosecurity radars and getting the seeds through e-commerce and also in their luggage when coming to Fiji from abroad.

Mr Gosai said because they had a dedicated team at the airport and at the post office, they were able to detect the seed parcels that were confiscated and destroyed due to the threat it contained.

He said those who wished to purchase seeds from abroad needed to get an import permit a month before purchasing it because it stipulated the conditions that the importer should meet.

Mr Gosai said though the seed parcels cost less than FJD$5, the damage it contained could be more than a $1000.

He added there were threats the seeds would cause to the country’s agricultural and horticultural environment and the country’s biodiversity if it was not authorised by BAF.

Mr Gosai said though they had yet to fine anyone, they had come across cases where there were repeat offenders.

He added in those cases, they had spoken to the persons concerned of the risks involved in buying seeds online and the importance of having an import permit.

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