Farmer Leticia Ann Wehr, a former president of the Australian Garlic Industry Association, imported nearly 2,200 garlic bulbs from the United States and Canada, which has jeopardized Australia’s agricultural sector, writes “Agro-Center” with a reference to The Guardian.
Garlic is a potential carrier of Xylella fastidiosa, the biggest threat to the national plant biosafety.
The Xylella fastidiosa bacterium can infect about 200 species of various plants, including such important crops as grapes, sunflower, citrus fruits, and many others. In many plants, the disease develops without obvious symptoms, until the roots begin to dry. Xylella fastidiosa caused massive deforestation of olive gardens in Italy in 2015, which resulted in huge economic losses. Therefore, at the moment, the dangerous pathogen is the focus of all quarantine services.
The head of the Australian Association imported American and Canadian garlic 21 times during 18 months without a permit and even instructed suppliers to label garlic as seeds for farmers.
The woman pleaded guilty last week to ten charges and resigned as president of the Australian Garlic Industry Association.