10 Mar 2011

Kiwifruit grower angry at lack of communication

7:31 am on 10 March 2011

One of the first kiwifruit growers to have the bacterial disease PSA identified in his orchard is angry that he's still waiting for written evidence his vines are infected.

Russell Baker of Te Puke says he was advised by telephone before Christmas that his orchard had tested positive for the Asian strain of PSA.

He says, however, that despite written requests to both the Kiwifruit Vine Health organisation (KVH) charged with managing the disease, and to the Ministry of Agriculture, asking for copies of the lab results, he's had no response.

"We don't know any more than we did four months ago," Mr Baker says.

He says he and a number of other growers believe that because there's no evidence PSA is spreading, KVH's policy of cutting down infected vines is wrong.

"The appropriate action would be to adopt the more traditional methods of control. Everybody agrees it cannot be eradicated."

Mr Baker advocates "cutting back any diseased or infected tissue, cankers and that sort out of thing, taking it out and burning them, monitoring the vines and just managing it as you normally would any bacterial disease."