27 Nov 2013

Kiwifruit growers becoming optimistic

6:35 am on 27 November 2013

Kiwifruit Vine Health chairman Peter Ombler says kiwifruit growers are starting to believes it's possible to continue operating in a PSA-V environment.

The agency, which was established after the discovery of the vine disease in the Bay of Plenty more than three years ago, held its annual meeting in Mount Maunganui on Tuesday.

Mr Ombler said there would be highs and lows but most growers would be able to sustainably continue in a PSA-V environment for the foreseeable future.

"We could not have said that one year ago, certainly with any level of confidence," he said.

"I am relatively conservative by nature and I feel reasonably comfortable with saying this year that, as a grower, I think I can see my way clear to be an orchardist for a long time."

Three key components had brought about the change in perspective, including weather conducive to good crops, and growers understanding how to manage the disease better.

The third factor was the elimination of the previous gold kiwifruit variety, Hort16A, from Te Puke.

"... having Hort16A, the previous gold variety, in the environment, that was an absolute magnate for Psa and it created problems for anything around it as well," Mr Ombler said.

"The industry and the cohesive structure we have has meant that we've been able to respond as one really quickly, and there's no Hort16A left in Te Puke at all now, which is quite remarkable."