Zespri NZ has reported that the number of kiwifruit orchards testing positive for Pseudomonas Syringae pv Actinidiae (Psa) has increased from 37 to 51, including the first in the Waikato.

The Kiwifruit Industry Advisory Council (with grower, post-harvest and ZESPRI representation) met on Friday to confirm the details of the industry management strategy, and ZESPRI will release this coming week.

The strategy includes a $25 million contribution from the New Zealand Government, and $25 million from industry. It will provide some assistance for affected growers to take aggressive action on their orchards to reduce the level of the bacteria and minimise further spread, and lower the potential losses from Psa. 

In other updates from ZESPRI:

· Of the total orchards inspected by trained assessors (n=389), 14% have been put on a Restricted Place Notice (n=54).

· Of the total test results received to date (n=177), approximately 70% have come back as negative.

· Positive tests for Psa have increased from 37 to 51 orchards – the new Psa-positive orchards are in Hawke’s Bay (1), Tauranga (1), Te Puke (11) and Waikato (1) – this is the first Waikato orchard.

· The majority of the Psa-positive orchards are within a 23km area south of Te Puke township, with Psa-positive tests also coming back from orchards based in Hawke’s Bay, Tauranga, Whakatane, Edgecumbe, Waikato, Golden Bay and Motueka.

· 16 orchards out of the 51 confirmed are GREEN orchards (30%).

· Some growers under a Restricted Place Notice are taking action on their own orchards to cut back affected vines, and they’re doing this in conjunction with MAF to follow correct hygiene and disposal procedures.

· ZESPRI has received 1135 emails through its Grower Contact Centre – approximately 35% are reporting suspected symptoms (which are immediately being followed up) and 65% are emailing to report that their orchard is clear of Psa symptoms

· MAF has confirmed that testing of historical samples going back to 1980 has not found any prior evidence of Psa in NZ

Psa is a bacterial vine disease that carries no risks associated with human or animal health, and does not affect plants other than kiwifruit vines. Psa has been present in Italy, Korea and Japan for many years but has not previously been detected in New Zealand. Because Psa is not transmitted on kiwifruit, there has been no change to market access for New Zealand kiwifruit.

ZESPRI said that the New Zealand kiwifruit industry is a strong and coordinated industry, working well together, and that they are confident that this issue will be overcome to ensure a prosperous future for the industry.

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