13 Oct 2011

Zespri says kiwifruit industry will learn to live alongside PSA

7:43 pm on 13 October 2011

The kiwifruit marketer Zespri says the industry will learn to live alongside PSA.

PSA Innovation's general manager David Tanner told a kiwifruit conference in Tauranga on Thursday that a programme to produce a new variety of the fruit, which is tolerant or resistant to PSA, has been stepped up.

He says in the short-term, the use of chemicals to protect the vines are buying the industry time.

But Dr Tanner says the long-term solution is to breed the vines to co-exist with PSA, which is what the different industry groups are working together to do.

He says about 100,000 new seedlings each year enter a breeding programme which started before PSA hit.

Dr Tanner says since PSA arrived a filter has been put over the breeding programme to find out whether seedlings are resistant to PSA or at least significantly tolerant to PSA.

He says the programme has significantly increased the numbers of seedlings put into the programme because it's likely a good chunk of those new seedlings won't be resistant or tolerant to PSA and will be weeded out.

Dr Tanner says after looking at PSA tolerance and resistance, other attributes such as productivity and good taste must be considered.

He says there is optimism in the industry that this is the solution to PSA.