Tasmania could lift the ban on raw poppy material import

Tasmanian poppy field image credit: flickr user: Olga Raevskaya

Tasmania will look into the possibility of allowing raw poppy material to be imported into the state but will not be rushed into lifting the ban, says Primary Industries Minister Jeremy Rockliff.

Tasmanian poppy field image credit: flickr user: Olga Raevskaya
Tasmanian poppy field
image credit: flickr user: Olga Raevskaya

According to the ABC, it comes after Tasmanian poppy processor TPI Enterprises announced last week that it will shut down its processing plant in Cressy, in northern Tasmania, and move production to Victoria because of the state’s import ban.

“We have to work with our Federal Government and our state colleagues on a five year implementation plan for the expansion of poppies and I’ve always said that Tasmania will not be rushed,” Mr Rockliff said.

“We will not be letting any unfettered importation of poppy raw material without the right checks and balances, without the right agreement, a resigning of the national agreement with respect to any poppy expansion. We have an international reputation as a safe and secure supplier, we don’t want to lose that.”

Jarrod Ritchie, the CEO of TPI Enterprises, said that the ban could leave the state in short supply of poppy straw if adverse weather conditions affect Tasmanian crops.

Jim Wilson, Chairman of the Tasmanian Agricultural Productivity Group (TAPG) said at the group’s annual general meeting on Friday the organisation would also reconsider its position regarding the ban.

“Providing that the appropriate assurances are in place to protect our biosecurity that process could be considered,” Mr Wilson said.

“But we’re really interested in growing the landscape potential in Tasmania and we’d like to see our farmers producing Tasmanian produce for manufacturing in Tasmania.”