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NZ approves levy on kiwifruit exports, hands over Psa management to industry

Tuesday 14th May 2013

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The government has signed off a levy on kiwifruit exports to help cover the cost of managing the outbreak of the Psa vine bacteria, and will hand over management of the disease to industry.

Cabinet has approved a 1 cent levy per tray for green fruit and a 2 cent levy for gold fruit and will hand over the remaining $3.5 million in a specially set up $25 million fund for Kiwifruit Vine Health to manage the outbreak, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said in a statement.

"This will help cover disease management, monitoring, plant material movement and dealing with unmanaged and abandoned orchards," Guy said. "This plan means that the primary responsibility for managing Psa is now moving to the industry themselves as they are best placed to co-ordinate and lead the response."

Pseudomonas syringae pv actinadiae bacteria, better known as Psa, was discovered at several orchards in 2010, prompting the government and statutory monopoly exporter Zespri to stump up $25 million apiece in a plan to contain the spread of the vine canker. Growers last year said there was evidence of it re-emerging on their vines.

A May 8 Kiwifruit Vine Health update identified 2,102 orchards where Psa-V was identified, with 9,753 hectares affected.

A 2011 Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry report warned the bacteria could shave as much as a quarter from kiwifruit exports in the year ended March 31, with a base case of an 18 percent decline to $862 million.

Government figures last month showed the value of all fruit exports fell 0.9 percent to $1.57 billion in the 12 months ended March 31. The volume of fruit exported fell 8.5 percent to 681,000 tonnes over the period.

BusinessDesk.co.nz



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