Agriculture Ministers’ Forum endorses red witchweed response plan

19 April 2016​

The Agriculture Ministers’ Forum (AGMIN), comprising of Australian primary industry ministers, has endorsed a ten year response plan of up to $5.8 million (2015-16 to 2024-25) to eradicate red witchweed (Striga asiatica). Ministers have endorsed the allocation of $3.788 million for the initial intensive three year phase of the response to 30 June 2018.

The first detection of red witchweed occurred on 11 July 2013. The Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has been undertaking response activities since its first detection, including on farm biosecurity restrictions to delimit the extent of the incursion and contain the spread of this exotic weed pest. In recognition of the Queensland Government’s proactive response to eradicating this exotic weed pest, Ministers also agreed to cost share these costs incurred by the Queensland Government in the initial stages of the response (up until June 2015). Contributing parties to the initial response costs are shared amongst the Commonwealth, South Australian, Victorian, Northern Territory and Queensland Governments. An independent review of the effectiveness of the first phase of the response will be completed by 30 June 2018 to ensure the response is efficient and meeting its objectives.

The eradication response is led by the Queensland Government. The response brings industry and government organisations together to cost share on a 50:50 per cent basis the eradication of this agricultural weed pest. This demonstrates industry and government commitment to taking action to protect Australia’s environment and agricultural sectors from this exotic weed pest. Affected industry parties which have agreed to cost share the 50 per cent industry share of the response plan are the Cattle Council of Australia/Meat and Livestock Australia, Grain Producers Australia and CANEGROWERS.

Advice from the Consultative Committee for Red Witchweed is that it is technically feasible and cost beneficial to eradicate red witchweed in Australia. Red witchweed is a parasitic plant that grows attached to the roots of certain commercially important grasses and summer cereals, including sorghum, corn (maize), rice and sugarcane.

Further information

Further information is available at the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website.

If you suspect red witchweed on your property, please contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 or report via the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.