21 Nov 2014

Psa report advocates pest response plan

7:02 am on 21 November 2014

An independent review of how the kiwifruit industry responded to the arrival of the vine killing disease Psa-V in 2010 has come up with 11 recommendations.

The report by the Sapere Research Group, similar to one carried out in 2012 that looked at the biosecurity response to the incursion, does not address how the disease got into New Zealand.

The 2012 report highlighted a breakdown in communication between the industry and the Government, and the failure by officials to recognise the risk posed by an outbreak in Italy which affected gold kiwifruit for the first time in 2009.

Among the recommendations in the latest report are for the industry to have closer liaison with the Ministry for Primary Industries, developing a response plan and developing best practice management and hygiene practices for not just Psa-V but other potential pests.

Kiwifruit Vine Health commissioned the review. Chairman Peter Ombler said it showed that the industry did a pretty fair job in managing what was a very difficult situation.

"It finds there are things we could have done better and you would expect that, so many of those recommendations have already been done or are in the process of being done at the moment.

"Once again that was positive for us that the shortfalls identified have been or are being dealt with and one or two other areas that we nodded our heads and said okay lets look at how we might do that.

But overall, I think positive from the he point of view of how we coped, and positive from the point of view of how we are tracking as a result when you look at the recommendations how we are tracking now anyway."

Mr Ombler conceded that without a doubt the industry was caught napping by the Psa-V outbreak.

"I think it is sad but true but inevitably those things often do. No matter how much you try to prepare yourself, an event like that changes your world overnight and it's hard to be completely prepared for it," he said.

Kiwifruit Vine Health was seeking feedback from growers on the report.

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