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Kiwifruit Growers to fight Zespri Antibiotic PSA Spray Plan

Kiwifruit Growers to fight Zespri Antibiotic PSA Spray Plan

Independent Kiwifruit Growers say Zespri’s plan to spray kiwifruit with the antibiotic Streptomycin in a bid to control PSA (Pseudomonas syringae pv Actinidiae) could do more harm to the industry than the disease itself and they will fight to keep the spray off their orchards.

IKGA spokesman, Chris Dunn says a walk-out by growers at a recent meeting over the spray-plan put forward by Zespri and Kiwifruit Vine Health showed the strength of opposition to the plan because growers know how damaging it could be to New Zealand’s ability to sell next year’s crop overseas.

“The EU has banned any fruit which contains residues of antibiotics and even in Italy where PSA has devastated the kiwifruit industry, the use of this antibiotic spray is absolutely forbidden.”

We’ve taken advice from our growing colleagues in Italy who strongly warn against Zespri’s plan to contaminate New Zealand vines in this way. They say it will not solve the problem, may induce resistance in the PSA bacteria here and could cause human health problems.”

“Aside from that, kiwifruit growers understand the importance of New Zealand’s reputation as a safe food producer and any use of streptomycin either through a spray or by putting it directly into the vines would be disastrous for our international image.”

“We are really concerned that at a time when kiwifruit growers are struggling under the weight of the PSA outbreak, in a small close-knit growing community like Te Puke undue emotional pressure is being brought to bear on growers in a bid to force them to allow this spraying to go ahead.”

We need to take the right decisions to now manage PSA, not rush or be pushed into decisions that could have very serious and lasting financial and reputational impacts for our industry.

Is this a good view of New Zealand rural practises when we are saying “New Zealand is Clean and Green” to our World Cup visitors?

ENDS

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