29 Mar 2012

Vine pirates face severe penalties - Zespri

7:05 am on 29 March 2012

Some kiwifruit growers are facing heavy penalties for grafting Zespri's new G3 cultivar onto their vines without the correct plant variety licences.

The G3 plants are showing good resistance to the vine canker Psa and about a dozen Te Puke growers have grafted them onto their own vines without paying for the correct licences.

Zespri made a small release of G3 in June last year, for which other growers paid a median price of $25,500 a hectare.

Zespri chairman John Loughlin says some of the growers facing penalties were acting out of desperation because their gold vines had been devastated by Psa.

However, he says Zespri must send a firm message that it will not tolerate unlicensed plantings. Growers will either have to severely prune new growth to just two buds above the graft or pay a financial penalty of $50,000 a hectare.

Mr Loughlin says Zespri recently announced that it will make G3 licences available to all gold growers affected by Psa at $8000 a hectare.