PSA Disease Attacks Kiwi Orchards

A fourth orchard has been confirmed with the kiwifruit vine-killing disease PSA.

The orchard is also in Te Puke, Bay of Plenty, along with the first three confirmed cases.

Another two orchards in Te Puke have been quarantined, bringing the total in quarantine to eight, Zespri’s latest figures show.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) is currently investigating 82 orchards, as hundreds of orchardists make contact including 298 who say they are clear of symptoms and 169 with photos of possible symptoms.

Copper spraying is to continue this afternoon of the infected orchards, in a bid to kill the disease which threatens to undermine the billion dollar industry.

Kiwifruit marketing company Zespri said earlier today it hopes New Zealand will be the first country to completely eradicate the airborne bacteria, but admits it may not be possible if it is too widespread.

While the Bay of Plenty region appears to be hardest hit, areas including Franklin, Hawkes Bay and Kerikeri have also reported symptoms.

However, there have so far been no confirmed cases outside Te Puke so far.

Further test results are expected throughout the weekend, as MAF sends out rapid response teams to randomly test areas around Te Puke.

Zespri’s manager of corporate and grower services Carol Ward told NZPA if anyone could beat it, New Zealand could, although other countries – Italy, France, Portugal, Japan, Korea and China – had been forced to live with the bacteria, Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae.

“We’re expecting a number of test results to come through from MAF and Plant and Food Research over the weekend, and we’re anticipating by the end of the day on Sunday hopefully we’ll have about 60 test results to see.”

Biosecurity Minister David Carter said yesterday it was doubtful that New Zealand would be able to completely eradicate the disease, which it is now emerging may have been here for some time and is now threatening to undermine the billion dollar industry.

“Many of the growers are reporting anecdotally that they have seen the symptoms in other years and if we could confirm that, it does suggest that PSA is a disease that has been there for a long period of time.

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