13 Oct 2011

Kiwifruit nations set up working group to fight PSA

9:30 am on 13 October 2011

International co-operation to combat the kiwifruit vine disease PSA has been pushed up another notch.

Kiwifruit-producing countries have set up a working group, through the International Kiwifruit Organisation, to provide another avenue for swapping information on managing the disease.

PSA is now confirmed or suspected in most kiwifruit-producing countries.

Long established in Japan and Korea, it has been ravaging gold kiwifruit production in Italy for three years. It has also been identified in France and is suspected to be in Spain, Portugal, China and possibly Chile.

PSA was confirmed in New Zealand less than a year ago.

But Zespri's grower and government relations manager, Simon Limmer, says that despite its relatively recent arrival here, the rest of the world is looking to New Zealand to take the lead in managing the disease.

He says New Zealand was the first country to commercialise kiwifruit and develop the category globally.

Mr Limmer says New Zealand accounts for about 30% of kiwifruit in terms of volume but 60 - 70% in terms of value.

He says the structure of New Zealand's industry has allowed it to take a cohesive and co-ordinated to dealing with PSA and it has a world-class research and development programme.