29 Nov 2010

Action group set to tackle kiwifruit vine disease

6:55 am on 29 November 2010

Kiwifruit marketer Zespri is establishing a specialised group to tackle PSA, as the vine-killing disease continues to spread.

Zespri says the number of infected orchards has risen to 80, which it describes as very disappointing.

The president of Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated, Peter Ombler, says the new group will take over the the job of fighting PSA from the Agriculture Ministry and play a central role in deciding how to deal with PSA.

He says it will be responsible for creating protocols for growers and organising funding.

The group will have board members from Zespri, the Agriculture Ministry, post-harvest suppliers and Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated.

Zespri says one of the group's first priorities will be to confirm details of the Government's financial assistance package, including eligibility requirements and the application process.

Zespri says the group, which will be an incorporated society, will develop and administer a national test management strategy for the disease, as well as organising intervention and managing funding.

It hopes to have the new organisation up and running over the next two weeks.