18 Oct 2011

Resistant kiwifruit will take time - US expert

6:26 am on 18 October 2011

A US plant-disease specialist supports the kiwifruit industry's strategy of producing a resistant variety of the fruit but says similar experiences in the United States show it will take some time.

Dr Harold Browning, chief operating officer of the Citrus Research and Development Foundation in Florida, told a kiwifruit conference in Tauranga that the bacterial disease citrus canker had a devastating effect on oranges in Florida - similar to the impact that PSA is having on New Zealand kiwifruit.

He says the citrus disease was first found in 999 and the initial response was a multi-year eradication programme.

A full research programme began in 2006 and Dr Browning says cultivars have been identified that are available for use now.

However, he says developing a cultivar to a commercial variety is a prolonged process.

"We have to test those for the horticultural practices, their fruit quality and yield and that sort of thing so we're underway with some of that in the field at this time."