Review of NZ Import Requirements for kiwifruit pollen
Following the discovery of Psa-V in New Zealand in 2010, the Import Health Standard (IHS) for pollen was immediately amended by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to prohibit the import of kiwifruit pollen. To date, the importation of pollen into New Zealand remains prohibited as the potential risk of introducing further variants of Psa-V and other pathogens is unknown.
After KVH raised concerns about the possibility of Psa-V impacting male kiwifruit vines and creating a pollen shortage, MPI was asked if there was a safe way to import pollen.
MPI sought input from a Technical Working Group made up of experts from the kiwifruit (incl. KVH, Zespri and other independents), bee and pollen industries. The aim of this Working Group and subsequent MPI analysis was to determine the risk posed by imported pollen; and the potential to import it, preferably in emergency situations only (e.g. if there were to be a significant shortage of pollen in New Zealand).
MPI have drafted an assessment of the potential for Psa to be associated with imported pollen and the potential consequences if Psa (Psa-V or other variants) was to enter and establish in New Zealand. Other pathogens which may also be associated with imported pollen, and which may impact on the kiwifruit or bee industries have been identified by MPI, but have not yet been assessed.
Following a meeting of the Working Group in mid-July, MPI is currently concluding its assessment of Psa and KVH expects an update on the assessment from MPI in the next couple of weeks. KVH believes it is very unlikely this process will result in the imported pollen ban being lifted as other pathogens associated with pollen still require careful assessment.
While New Zealand does not currently have a pollen shortage, a bad Psa year could possibly impact future pollen supply.
Therefore its essential growers plan ahead for future pollination requirements.
- Manage your male vines—develop low-vigour growing systems
- Assess the health of your male vines—diseased males can impact future pollination requirements
- Detecting diseased males early will allow time to assess your future pollination requirements
- If males need to be cut out, ensure you have a plan for future pollination requirements
- Order pollen early from KVH-registered pollen providers for future pollination requirements
- Arrange harvest of early flowers for pollen milling wherever possible
- Store pollen for next season wherever possible
- Graft to more Psa-tolerant varieties