24 Nov 2014

Kiwifruit growers 'sick of positive talk'

8:19 pm on 24 November 2014

A kiwifruit grower who has just discovered Psa on his vines says industry leaders are glossing over how bad the situation is for producers.

A report released last week into the vine killing disease in 2010 suggests New Zealand is now a world leader in being able to manage an outbreak. It is estimated to have cost the country close to $900 million.

The independent report from Sapere Research Group, similar to one carried out in 2012 that looked at the biosecurity response to the Psa incursion, did not investigate how the disease got into New Zealand.

The latest report highlights the need for better liaison between the industry and the Government, the development of a response plan and better practices in dealing with other potential diseases.

Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated believed that the industry had done a good job coping.

But Ross Hart, who is also a leader of the Independent Kiwifruit Growers Association, said some growers are getting sick of the positive talk by industry leaders.

"We've had two Indian summers, dry warm summers and the propaganda machine crows about how it's under control. The year we get a season like this that suits Psa - wet, cold, and we're seeing it rear it's ugly head. Well, you know, that's the reality."

Mr Hart discovered the disease on his organic orchard two weeks ago and is considering leaving the industry.

Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated admitted that producers were still dealing with the aftermath of the incursion and accept that Psa had not gone away.

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