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The Italian Gardener Pty Ltd

Quarantine / Freight Costs

Federal Quarantine and Freight Costs during COVID-19

The cost of a packet of seed imported from Italy is influenced by many things in addition to the price paid for the seed. These are touched on briefly below so that you have a better understanding of the reasons for our pricing policy. With the reduction in international flights as a result of Covid-19, freight costs have increased by 2-3 times. To maintain supplies of seed we will continue to import despite the price increases, but it will be necessary to reflect this increased cost in seed prices.

All seed imported into Australia must meet the strict quarantine arrangements of the Australian Government so that disease that may adversely impact on Australia’s uniquely disease-free status is preserved as far as possible. The Italian Gardener supports quarantine principles although they have a cost impact on our products, and in 15 years of operations, no seed has been refused entry as a result of bacterial or viral contamination.

Seed entering Australia has GST applied to the value of seed and freight and is inspected by DAWE (Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment ), and for each variety, one packet is opened and visually examined for purity. This results in destruction of up to 1 packet in 20.

Some seed including carrot, parsley, parsnip etc requires treatment to eliminate the possibility of the bacteria Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum. This requires the seed to be sent under quarantine bond to Victoria for low temperature heat treatment that eliminates any bacteria, but does not otherwise affect the seed.

Other seed, including pumpkin, zucchini and cucumber, requires analysis to ensure the absence of a number of viral diseases that can be carried on the seed. This involves ELISA (Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) testing of 20% of each variety in State Government Laboratories in Victoria or NSW at very considerable cost.

We hope that the explanation of seed importing above will give you a better appreciation of what is involved and justification for the price increases.

A new range of Roma, French, borlotti, cannellini and broad beans, podding, sugar snap and snow peas and corn has also been added to provide a more complete selection for home gardeners. Grown in Australia, this is quality seed in generous quantity and included because quarantine does not allow import of these varieties from Italy.

 Quarantine WA:

The Italian Gardener has come to an arrangement with the WA Dept of Agriculture that allows customers to import seed from the Italian Gardener without the risk of personally incurring quarantine charges that will be directed to The Italian Gardener. As a consequence, for each order to WA there will be a surcharge of $3 to cover my costs. The amount of this surcharge will be reviewed from time to time and may be adjusted if necessary.