NEW ZEALAND: Kiwifruit growers 'did the wrong thing' over injections - industry leader
Posted: May 28th, 2012 - 10:26am
Kiwifruit growers who illegally injected their crops with antibiotics "panicked and did the wrong thing", according to an industry body.
New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers president Neil Trebilco told TV ONE's Breakfast that growers resorted to treating their crops with antibiotics when the Psa virus was at its worst.
"We need to bear in mind this happened in September/October last year, and at that time Psa growers were seeing symptoms rampant throughout their orchards, and so some growers obviously panicked and did the wrong thing," he said.
A ONE News investigation revealed that as many as 50 kiwifruit growers took the step of injecting their crops with antibiotics in a desperate attempt to combat the vine killing bacteria, Psa.
Psa has been spreading through the Te Puke region killing vines at a cost to the industry of nearly $900 million.
According to Trebilco, growers have seen tough financial times since their crops were hit by the virus.
"Back in November 2010, their orchards were worth 400-450 thousand dollars a hectare," he said.
"Now their orchards are maybe bare land price, or 70,000 dollars a hectare & now they're in a negative equity position, and with no income."
Trebilco told Breakfast the association has taken measures to make sure no fruit with antibiotic residue will turn up on the market.