Kiwi fruit disease spreads

Listen to November 9th 2010 for background to this.

The bacterial disease, PSA, which affects gold kiwi fruit has spread. Now tests show that 13 orchards have the disease and more orchards are in quarantine, waiting for the results of tests. This is very serious for the kiwi fruit industry. The Zespri company exports about $1bn worth of kiwi fruit each year. About one third of that money comes from gold kiwi fruit. There were plans to increase the value of kiwi fruit exports to around $3bn in the near future.

The Prime Minister, Mr Key, said that the government will help with the cost of getting rid of the disease. Growers are spraying with a copper spray but it is not clear if this will be successful.

The disease showed first with spots on the leaves. Now some parts of the vines are dying. Growers are cutting back the vines to the healthy parts but they do not know if this is enough.

There are also fears that bees could spread the disease to green kiwi fruit. Growers will put bee hives into the green kiwi fruit orchards in the next two weeks for pollination. Gold kiwi fruit pollination is already finished.

The kiwi dollar has dropped a little this week, maybe because of the problem with the kiwi fruit industry.

1. Do you think the government should help the growers to get rid of the disease?
2. The kiwi fruit industry brings in $1bn to the country but total exports are worth close to $40bn. Why should we worry about the kiwi fruit industry?

1 thought on “Kiwi fruit disease spreads”

  1. Dear Sir/Madam

    I am a biochemist and I believe that I have found the way to curb the problem with the PSA problem associated with the Kiwi fruit in NZ. It is very simple – 5% bleach sprayed on the plants. I know this as I used this in my encounter with an infection of my foot. This happened while gardening in my lifestye lot wearing jandles and I steped on a Gorse needle.Hope this is of help.

    Best Regards

    Michail Borissenko BSc, MSc, DSc (Candidate)Biochemistry

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