Pestering Pesticides On Aussie Strawberries


A recent article reported that Australian strawberries are being subjected to an environmentally damaging pesticide that has been banned around the world. And with 70% of our strawberries grown on these runners which are fumigated, Australians are going crazy over this revelation.

The pesticide in question is called Methyl bromide. It is a colourless and odourless gas and was banned by the United Nations Montreal Protocol in 1989 because it caused depletion in the ozone layer. Australia agreed to phase this pesticide out in 2005.

Now, ten years later, ABC News reports that nine strawberry runner growers at Toolangi, in Victoria’s Yarra Valley, are still using nearly 30 tonnes of Methyl bromide a year! This particular region in Victoria produces 100 million strawberry runners a year and this all up generate about 70% of our nation’s strawberries.

Why The Pesticides?

The nine farms still using the chemical are part of the Toolangi Certified Strawberry Runner Growers’ Cooperative, said in a statement they said banning methyl bromide would threaten the Australian industry. Because the soil in this particular region have high organic matter, other alternative treatments just won’t work with it. However, the farmers are investigating other methods and research into issues such as new fumigants, biological controls and alternative production systems is being done to advance the current situation.

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