8 Feb 2010

Kiwifruit release decision in June

1:35 pm on 8 February 2010

Kiwifruit exporter Zespri will decide later this year whether to release some of the new varieties it's been testing.

Zespri has been collecting production data from several new lines of kiwifruit growing in 30 hectares of trial blocks on orchards.

The exporter has written to growers advising them that it will decide in June whether it will put one or two of the varieties into commercial production.

Industry liason manager Neil Malcon says the company sees significant benefits in bringing new varieties into production as quickly as possible, and the evaluation process is robust.

But he says Zespri accepts the new varieties are unproven and there are risks for growers if the decision is made to go ahead with commercialisation.

Neil Malcon says as well as the possibility of a new variety proving unsuccessful, growers also have to contend with a loss of income from converting their orchards, the cost of grafting, providing new shelter and building new support structures.

Kiwifruit Growers chair Peter Ombler says there's at least one variety in the Zespri trial which shows a lot of promise.