KiwiNet workshop highlights biosecurity risks

28 July 2016
The ‘KiwiNet’ team meet twice-yearly as part of their ongoing commitment to championing biosecurity within the industry; and on Wednesday KVH held a workshop for the group where they were presented with topical biosecurity information relevant to the kiwifruit industry. The main focus of the workshop was to work through the challenges of a fruit fly incursion during harvest with Zespri and MPI. Zespri’s Elaine Gould also presented the group with an overview of ‘Verona vine decline’—a serious issue currently affecting kiwifruit vines in Verona, Italy. Rapidly declining vines were first reported in 2012 where 50 hectares of kiwifruit were affected and recent reports suggest this has now reached 2000 hectares in 2016. Symptoms include discolouration, reduced vegetative growth, dieback and reduced fruit development. The most obvious symptom is below ground the root system of affected plants is strongly compromised. Root rot is widespread with reduced diameter and lack the fibrous feeder roots. The cause of the vine decline is unknown, but may result from a combination of factors including pathogens, soil structure, irrigation and climate. The KVH/Zespri Biosecurity Innovation Programme has recently contributed around $16k to support research into the cause of the decline and to identify possible pathogens.