13 Oct 2011

Vine disease won't be easily beaten - minister

7:15 am on 13 October 2011

Agriculture Minister David Carter says beating the kiwifruit vine-killing disease PSA may take a bit longer than the industry hopes.

The industry is very focused on having solutions by 2013, Mr Carter says, but because of the nature of plant breeding it may take a bit longer.

He says the seriousness of the threat posed by PSA should not be underestimated but people should also take heart from the research being done to find ways of managing the disease.

On Wednesday Mr Carter met industry representatives and scientists at the Plant and Food Research Institute's Te Puke site for a briefing.

He says the best longer-term prospects for controlling PSA lie in developing resistant varieties of kiwifruit - and there's hope that such a variety will be developed in the short term.

The kiwifruit marketer Zespri's grower and government relations manager, Simon Limmer, says that because of the disease production this year could be down by between 10 and 20 million trays on the past year's record 114 million trays.