15 Nov 2010

Kiwifruit grower hopes PSA panic will die down

6:03 am on 15 November 2010

A kiwifruit grower who has been a stalwart of the industry hopes the panic surrounding the PSA outbreak in Bay of Plenty dies down this week, as more information about it emerges.

The bacterial disease had been confirmed in eight orchards in the wider Te Puke area on Sunday, while 11 more were under movement restrictions as tests continued.

Doug Voss, an organic grower in Tauranga and former chairman of kiwifruit marketer Zespri, says he's confident growers can fight the disease, but scaremongering within the industry is not helping.

He says New Zealand's trading partners have been notified and need to be kept up to date.

But Mr Voss says it's important to work through the issue in a coordinated and sensible manner rather than talking about a "crisis" which will affect the market.

Mr Voss saw first-hand the devastation that PSA had on vines in Italy but but doesn't believe that it is the same strain that's infected orchards in Te Puke.

He says despite the setback, orchardists - even those whose properties have the disease - are reporting a brilliant growing season with strong, healthy vines