Working with Maori to manage kiwifruit risks
KVH Chairman Adrian Gault and Peter Mourits attended the Te Whanau a Apanui Growers meeting at Te Kaha last Thursday.
KVH appreciated the opportunity to meet with the Maori Growers Forum and Adrian took the chance to provide an update on KVH’s mission and strategy, and talked about how KVH is working to prepare the industry for the next biosecurity incursion.
Peter presented an overview of major biosecurity threats, with a focus on fruit flies and the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB). He outlined the impacts that the BMSB is having on kiwifruit production in Italy and the potential threat of this bug to over 300 plant species here in New Zealand. He reminded growers that not only is BMSB a risk to horticulture, but to local community gardens too.
The potential role of the Samurai Wasp as a biocontrol agent for the BMSB was discussed, along with research that has been undertaken over the last two years by Dr John Charles where he has been studying any potential impact from the wasp on New Zealand native species (if it were to be introduced). It was pleasing to report the wasp is very host specific and will not impact other species.
KVH acknowledged the support of the Maori Grower Forum and thanked them for their submission on the Samurai Wasp to the Steering Group who are preparing an application for consideration by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the introduction of the wasp in the event a BMSB population is found in New Zealand.
KVH looks forward to continuing dialogue with this forum and working collaboratively to protect Maori interests from biosecurity threats to the kiwifruit industry.