Be careful when importing seeds

01 November 2018

We were pleased to see a column in the NZ Herald last week from Federated Farmers highlighting the importance of following the law when importing any seed.

Whether you’re a home gardener or large company importing stock, everyone needs to make sure they meet all requirements.

KVH is aware of international websites offering several varieties of kiwifruit for sale. This is concerning not only because buying seeds online for import into New Zealand could risk introducing a plant disease, but also because websites are often falsely declaring contents on the packaging. For example, we mentioned in an August Bulletin that lab test results from packages sold as ‘purple hearts kiwifruit’ online and sent to New Zealand (which then became known to KVH, so we had them delivered to us for formal reporting and testing) confirmed the seeds were of course not purple kiwifruit, and a number were seeds from entirely different plants.

There are strict rules around importing any kiwifruit seed:

- seed intended for growing requires a permit to import and a phytosanitary certificate

- it must be imported into post entry quarantine where it will be grown and checked for a range of viruses and other plant disease organisms

- no seeds will be given biosecurity clearance; only plants which have been inspected and tested will be eligible for clearance.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) enforces all requirements and investigates any report of kiwifruit plants grown from unapproved seed imports. Please alert MPI if you aware of any unapproved seed imports by calling the pest and disease hotline on 0800 80 99 66.