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NZ pipfruit industry comes first

Media Release 27 September,2002

NZ pipfruit industry comes first

Misunderstanding has arisen from media reports regarding HortResearch's plans for part of its pipfruit-breeding programme.

HortResearch is commercialising its apple and pear breeding programmes. The programmes are world class and have received significant interest from potential investors both in New Zealand and overseas. HortResearch is assessing these proposals with the view of maximising the benefits from the programmes to New Zealand.

As a part of this process, HortResearch has been in discussions for some time with New Zealand industry groups, including Pipfruit Growers New Zealand Inc (PGNZI), regarding the commercial opportunities available.

Currently, HortResearch is offering options on the outputs of the apple and pear programmes. The apple-breeding programme has allowed New Zealand growers to produce top quality export apples such as the Pacific series. And now the latest cultivar 'JazzTM' is being commercialised by ENZA Ltd.

Paul McGilvary, HortResearch CEO said, "We are committed and determined to maintain the total fruit science capability that is world class, but we face a dilemma when there is insufficient funds from the New Zealand industry to fully retain the capability, so other options have to be considered. Once the capability is diminished it is a long and expensive process to rebuild."

"We need to maximise the value of this important asset, not just to HortResearch but also to New Zealand. There is no specific time to finalising the commercialisation pathway for the programmes. It is too early to predict the outcomes and it is important to get it right." Mr McGilvary said.

Contrary to some perceptions CRIs are required to be commercially viable companies and compete for public and private sector research contracts. The CRI operating environment is as competitive as for any privately owned business. However unlike private companies, CRIs are expected to have a social responsibility and to undertake research for the benefit of New Zealand.

HortResearch lives up to both of these requirements.

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