Kiwifruit Growers Show Strong Support for Aggressive Management of Psa

Media Release - 19 November 2010

With strong support by growers across the industry, the kiwifruit Industry Advisory Council
tonight supported the aggressive management of Psa in New Zealand and authorised
$25 million of industry funding to support the management strategy.

ZESPRI Chairman, John Loughlin, said: “The New Zealand kiwifruit industry is a key export
earner and significant new Zealand employer. I am confident that the Government’s timely
support and $25 million dollar contribution to the Psa Management Strategy will prove to be
a very good investment for New Zealand taxpayers.”

At a series of meetings held across New Zealand yesterday and today, attended by over
1500 growers, the overwhelming majority voted in support of the proposal to aggressively
manage Psa.

ZESPRI CEO Lain Jager said the objective of the aggressive strategy is to reduce the level of
Psa bacteria across the industry, thereby greatly slowing the spread of the disease which is
expected to significantly reduce the long-term financial impact on the industry.

“The strong grower endorsement of this strategy reflects everyone’s awareness of the
destructive potential of this bacteria and the robust rationale of the risk management plan.
We recognise we will need to adjust the plan as more information becomes available over
the coming weeks, but the main focus right now is to remove infected plant material from
vines on a timely basis to stop the advancement of the infection. This is particularly the case
where symptoms have progressed beyond the initial stage of leaf spotting.”

The aggressive management guidelines have tonight been reviewed and agreed by the IAC
and will be communicated with the industry.

To support this approach, the Government will contribute $25 million. The industry will
contribute $25 million, which comes from existing reserves within the GOLD payment pool
initially, and will be supplemented by contributions from grower pools and a reduced grower
rebate from 2011. This assistance will go some way towards the on-orchard costs and profit
loss borne by affected growers.

Other aspects of the Industry Management Strategy include the establishment of a new
entity to coordinate the Psa long-term management programme and funding towards the
implementation of the strategy and further research and development into understanding
and mitigating the impact of Psa.

Mr Jager said: “This is a first rate example of a Government/industry partnership working in
real time to tackle an urgent business issue. It’s also a tremendous example of the
effectiveness of the integrated kiwifruit industry business model. This is a very positive
action plan that reflects a strong, highly coordinated industry which is owned and governed
by New Zealand kiwifruit growers.”

  1. Key information for growers (updated 20 November)
    Adopt recommended orchard hygiene practices, regularly monitor your orchard for Psa
    symptoms and keep updated on the latest information via The Canopy
    (www.zespricanopy.com) and your ZESPRI/packhouse grower representatives.
  2. Adopt recommended orchard hygiene practices, regularly monitor your orchard for Psa symptoms and keep updated on the latest information via The Canopy (www.zespricanopy.com) and your ZESPRI/packhouse grower representatives.
  3. If you see Stage 2 symptoms (leaf wilting, dieback and/or exudate), go to The Canopy, complete the ‘Symptom Monitoring Sheet’ and email the completed sheet and digital photos to contactcanopy@zespri.com. Spray copper over affected blocks, prepare to cutback vines by tagging affected areas and await further advice from an independent assessor. The cutback decision will depend on the independent assessment. These growers can then apply for funding (through a process yet to be determined).

Background

MAF Biosecurity New Zealand (MAFBNZ) confirmed last week that the bacterial vine disease,
Pseudomonas syringae pv actinidiae (Psa), is present on kiwifruit orchards in New Zealand.
The number of affected orchards is 51, which represents approximately 1 percent of the New
Zealand industry’s orchard area.

The New Zealand crop is entering the main growing period for the 2010/2011 season; vines
have flowered and are being pollinated. Over 99 percent of the vines are looking great, so
ZESPRI remains confident of a very good season ahead.

Psa is a bacterial vine disease that carries no risks associated with human or animal health,
and does not affect plants other than kiwifruit vines. Psa has been present in Italy, Korea
and Japan for many years but has not previously been detected in New Zealand.
Because Psa is not transmitted on kiwifruit, there has been no change to market access for
New Zealand kiwifruit.

The New Zealand kiwifruit industry is a strong and coordinated industry, working well
together, and is confident that this issue will be overcome to ensure a prosperous future for
the industry.

Back to Newsroom