30 Jul 2009

Search for pesticide for crop-damaging insect

12:30 pm on 30 July 2009

An ambitious programme is about to get under way to find a pesticide for an insect that is threatening to ruin the country's potato, tomato, capsicum and tamarillo crops.

The million dollar cross-sector programme has received funding from the Ministry of Agriculture and a number of industry organisations and private companies.

The project will look at how best to manage the potato/tomato psyllid, which can pass on the Liberibacter bacterium which causes abnormalities and lower yields in the crops.

Horticulture New Zealand's Vegetable Research and Innovation Manager,Sonia Whiteman says scientists will be able to build on work done since the pysllid was first detected in 2006.

Ms Whiteman says growers face the threat of going out of business if a solution isn't found.