14 Apr 2011

FarmsOnline system should be compulsory - Fonterra

1:21 pm on 14 April 2011

Dairy co-operative Fonterra believes there are flaws in the new biosecurity database, FarmsOnline.

The MAF Biosecurity system has been set designed to speed up responses to national emergencies, and was developed in response to shortcomings exposed in the 2005 Waiheke Island foot and mouth hoax.

Farmers, growers and lifestylers are being encouraged to enter their contact details into FarmsOnline which pulls together information about land use and ownership of rural properties.

However Fonterra's risk management programme specialist, Lindsay Burton, told Parliament's primary production select committee that the biosecurity database should be compulsory for rural property owners.

Mr Burton also told the committee that the Government/industry agreements included in the Biosecurity Law Reform Bill could fragment and polarise some primary industries.

He says that if the agreements don't get buy-in from all primary groups, some of them could be heavily disadvantaged.

The biosecurity law reform bill has already been heavily criticised by some industy groups for its potential to pass the cost of preparing for and responding to biosecurity incursions onto growers or farmers.