Quarantine nod for ornamental seed

18/08/2015

A previously import-prohibited seed commonly used in the production of necklaces in Vanuatu and other Pacific Island Countries is now permitted entry into Australia. <!--more--><a href="https://pacifictradeinvest.com/PTI/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/rsz_iconapproved.png"><img class=" size-full wp-image-7270 alignleft" src="https://pacifictradeinvest.com/PTI/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/rsz_iconapproved.png" alt="rsz_iconapproved" width="138" height="104" /></a>The seed with the botanical name Hernandia nymphaeifolia, known in the Pacific as nabiribiri in Vanuatu, puka in Niue and the Cook Islands and pu’a in Samoa, is also currently permitted for sowing or propagation purposes.

Previously the seed had been prohibited for export to Australia in necklaces as it had not been assessed. However, the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) Programme negotiated with Australia’s Department of Agriculture to have the biosecurity status of the seed amended. As the seeds used in necklaces would be dried and not capable of propagation, the biosecurity risks to Australia are negligible.

PHAMA’s Semy Siakimotu said Hernandia nymphaeifolia is present in Australia and can be found along the coasts of north-eastern Australia.

As use of the seed is widespread in the production of necklaces, Australia’s decision to permit its entry will make it much easier for Australian tourists to take necklaces back home.

Tourism is a key part of Vanuatu’s economy, and the industry continues to grow, particularly the cruise ship sector - each year over 250,000 tourists arrive by cruise ship, with strong projections for future growth.

PHAMA has been working with quarantine authorities in Australia, New Zealand and Vanuatu to develop information guides and posters for tourists and Vanuatu’s “mamas” – the handicraft sellers – to explain what handicrafts can or cannot be taken back to Australia and New Zealand.

These materials were launched by Vanuatu’s Deputy Prime Minister Ham Lini Vanuaroro at an event in Port Vila in May. They will now be updated to reflect the new status of this seed.

PHAMA is an aid project, funded by the Australian and New Zealand Governments. Core countries assisted through PHAMA are Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu, with PNG joining the Program in 2015/16. Pacific Islands Trade &amp; Invest (PT&amp;I) works closely with PHAMA on some projects.