Comparative cost calculator

A prototype model to compare the costs of different phytosanitary risk management options

When considering options for managing biosecurity risks related to trade, proposed phytosanitary measures must be effective – but should also be cost efficient and ‘least trade restrictive’.

CSIRO has developed a preliminary costing model enabling the costs of implementing a phytosanitary systems approach (PSA) to be compared with other phytosanitary treatments such as methyl bromide fumigation and irradiation. The model was developed for the cherry PSA case study and considers regulatory, logistics and treatment steps, and includes implementation costs, time to market and avoided costs. Costing estimates for protocol elements such as trapping, application of corrective actions, crop inspection, fruit inspection and end-point treatments were obtained from the literature and producers. Costings can also be entered by users to reflect their own experience. The comparative costing model showed that the proposed PSA for cherries was cost effective, provided authorised officers could be used for monitoring traps and crop inspections.

Although only a prototype, the comparative costing model is a useful first step towards addressing concerns regarding the costs of implementing systems approaches. The model improves transparency and enables the comparative costs of various pathways to be assessed. Stakeholder feedback indicates there would be significant value in further developing the model to incorporate a wider scope of costs and benefits, for example to estimate the enhanced returns possible from delivering a more premium quality product to market in a shorter time – for example, if the quality and logistics impacts of fumigation could be avoided. Feedback also identified the model could provide the basis for a tool that demonstrates the value of proactive on-farm biosecurity measures.