Action to Curb Threat of Khapra Beetle

This month DAWE will implement urgent actions to address the risk of khapra beetle on high-risk plant products that are hosts of this pest, including rice, chickpeas and lentils.

Image source: Wikipedia

Overseas, khapra beetle(Trogoderma granarium) is a serious pest of stored grains, rice, oilseeds and dried foodstuffs. In hot conditions, populations build up swiftly, causing significant losses to produce held in stores such as grain in silos.

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) has issued Industry Advice Notice (IAN) 127-2020: Notification of planned urgent actions for khapra beetle, as it implements its strategy to address the risk of the beetle on high-risk plant products that are hosts of this pest. It is addressed to stakeholders including importers of plant products, freight forwarders, customs brokers and high-volume specialist operators specialising in moving personal effects.

The IAN lists specific plant products which have been identified as high-risk. The strategy involves banning such products from entering Australia from all countries as unaccompanied personal effects (UPEs) or within low value air and sea freight lodged through self-assessed clearance (SAC). The ban is expected to be implemented in August 2020.

One of the other measures the department was considering is to include a Khapra Beetle statement on the Packing Declarations. However, at a recent consultative meeting, our industry representative body strongly objected to making changes to the Packing Declaration, as a documentary change will not address the biosecurity risk.

The most likely way that khapra beetle could make it to Australia is with:
- stored produce including grain, rice, cotton seed, powdered milk and nuts
- containers used for storing or moving produce, including in cracks and wall linings of storage containers.

Khapra beetle is a significant threat to Australian plant industries, including the grain export industry - it destroys grain quality making it unfit for human or animal consumption. Stored products also become contaminated with beetles, cast skins and hairs from larvae, posing a human health risk.

If khapra beetle enters Australia it would have significant economic consequences. An outbreak could cost Australia $15.5 billion over 20 years through revenue losses arising from reduction in production and exports.

As licensed Customs Brokers and Logistics Services providers, Colless Young offers professional advice all your imports, including shipping, clearance through customs and quarantine, warehousing and transport. We are based in Brisbane and offer a complete range of freight forwarding services for import and export cargo, both air and sea, throughout Australia.