15 Jun 2012

G3 gold kiwifruit to be planted

6:34 am on 15 June 2012

The kiwifruit industry has started a large scale programme to replace gold kiwifruit vines devastated by PSA with a new disease-tolerant variety.

Zespri has issued licences for more than 2000 hectares of the G3 gold variety, that will cover about half of the area planted in Hort16A gold kiwifruit, that is the hardest hit by the disease.

Gold makes up 3000 of the country's 13,000 hectares of kiwifruit.

Chief executive Lain Jager says growers from Te Puke have bought licenses to graft 1600 hectares of the new variety in the first roll-out of G3, with a further 400 hectares sold to green growers.

He says it's the biggest grafting ever in the New Zealand kiwifruit industry.

Mr Jager says that reflects the devastating effect of PSA on the Hort16A variety which growers have had to abandon, but it also shows that gold kiwifruit is a good business and New Zealand kiwifruit growers' are resilient and determined to stay in the game.

He says Zespri will issue another round of G3 licences next year, and all gold growers will be able to buy them at a cheaper rate.

As a result, he expects gold kiwifruit production to be back in full swing by 2015.