Government Commits Millions to Expand Biosecurity

By Hari Yellina
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The government has pledged a $4 million investment over four years to strengthen Onside Ltd’s biosecurity preparedness and response app. The money comes from the Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures Fund of the Ministry of Primary Industries (SFF Futures). “As a trading nation with a diverse range of plants and wildlife, biosecurity is critical to our economic security,” says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. Primary sector exports, according to O’Connor, help the New Zealand economy flourish. “That is why we are always updating our systems to prevent intrusions and to ensure that we can promptly stamp it out if necessary.”

He claims that Onside’s biosecurity software (OSI) leverages data from a variety of sources to map out rural connections and probable disease paths in a way that is faster than previously conceivable, saving the country hundreds of millions of dollars, according to O’Connor. www.ruralnewsgroup.co.nz. “With our investment and Onside’s $6 million commitment, the sector will be able to scale up and embrace the technology quickly.” In 2016, Onside launched as a visitor management and health and safety solution, including a digital check-in to track farm visitors. Since then, it has grown into a full operational software for the entire agricultural sector.

Onside is already in use on over 14,000 properties, with a strong presence in the kiwifruit industry and growing in popularity in the viticulture industry. The money will allow Onside to expand these capabilities while also continuing to develop OSI methods and technology in conjunction with some of the world’s leading data scientists.

What is Biosecurity?

Biosecurity is a series of measures to protect against the entry and spread of pests and diseases. It includes both:

  • protection of Australia’s borders at ports and airports
  • our practices and habits on properties to reduce the risk of disease or infestation.

Biosecurity is something that all good producers practise to some extent, whether they are aware of it or not. If a producer has a boundary fence that keeps out neighbouring sheep, or refuses to buy sheep with obvious signs of foot rot, this is biosecurity in practice.


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