11 Apr 2012

$100 million loss tipped for kiwifruit sector

9:08 am on 11 April 2012

Kiwifruit industry leaders say the sector is looking at a loss of more than $100 million this year because of the PSA vine disease.

In the past year, the more virulent of two strains has spread from Te Puke to Opotiki in Eastern Bay of Plenty and across to Franklin in South Auckland.

Kiwifruit Vine Health says most of the gold kiwifruit growers in heavily infected areas are either struggling to produce fruit or have stopped.

Kiwifruit Growers Inc president Neil Trebilco says about 600 hectares of gold kiwifruit vines have been removed.

He says gold kiwifruit production will be reduced this year by 10 million trays, costing the country about $120 million in export earnings.

Mr Trebilco says some growers will have to start again from scratch because of the disease.