13 Mar 2012

NZ leading global charge against Psa vine disease

10:13 pm on 13 March 2012

New Zealand is leading the charge internationally when it comes to fighting the kiwifruit disease Psa.

Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH) has released an update on the global status of Psa.

It says Italy has been the hardest hit by the disease, followed by New Zealand, then France.

Other countries have shown signs of Psa, but not the virulent form found in those three countries.

Since it was first found on a Te Puke orchard in November 2010, Psa has infected about a third of New Zealand's orchards.

John Burke, who has recently stepped down as KVH general manager, says although Psa has been present in Italy since 1992, New Zealand is ahead in its management of the disease.

He says other countries are looking here for answers, with the KVH website, for example, getting more than 20,000 hits per month.

He says a lot of that is related to the organisation's research and development programmes and some of its technical transfer measures.

Mr Burke says New Zealand is so far ahead because it operates with a very strongly integrated industry so is able to pull together, as well as having the funding to get on with key research and development programmes.

He says New Zealand has also been able to work with Italy in particular to build on what they had already started.

Latest figures from KVH show 1087 New Zealand orchards have Psa, 800 of which are in Te Puke, and only five outside Bay of Plenty.