22 Mar 2012

Seeka to work with Maori kiwifruit growers hit by Psa

7:20 pm on 22 March 2012

Te Puke based Seeka which is New Zealand's largest kiwifruit grower, plans to work with Maori growers in Bay of Plenty, to see if they're interested in planting a new gold variety, which has shown resistance to the vine killing disease Psa.

The kiwifruit marketer Zespri announced on Wednesday that all growers of the original gold variety, Hort16A, which has been hardest hit by Psa, can now purchase licences costing $8000 a hectare for the Gold 3 variety.

Seeka chief executive Michael Franks says some of the long term leases which a subsidiary company Huka Pak has, are with Maori growers who've lost vines because of the disease.

He says there are a number of growers in the areas of Mangatawa and Mangapihi near Tauranga, whose Hort 16A blocks have been hit by Psa.

Mr Franks says Seeka will be meeting with them to discuss whether or not they intend planting the Gold 3 variety, and whether their leases with the company need to be changed.