10 Nov 2009

Turners and Growers to plant own new kiwifruit varieties

9:43 am on 10 November 2009

Turners and Growers says farmers cannot afford to wait for new kiwifruit strains to be developed under a new $35.7 million partnership between exporter Zespri and the Government.

Zespri says the partnership is crucial for New Zealand to keep ahead of its low-cost competitors.

Turners and Growers wants Zespri's exporting and marketing monopoly abolished.

Chief executive Jeff Wesley says it will not be submitting its own varieties that it grows in China for testing, as he says the company has carried out all trials that are needed.

He says Turners and Growers has to decide by end of next year whether to plant big volumes in Chile or New Zealand, and hopes there will be changes so that they will be planted in New Zealand.

Mr Wesley says the marketer hasn't put enough emphasis on developing new types of fruit, and he believes the Government is trying to push Zespri to accelerate the process.