No more infected pollen from Domestic bio-terrorism Government Department
Pollen import ban sought to save kiwifruit industry
Federated Farmers are calling for a ban on pollen imports and an end to artificial pollination of kiwifruit after the vine wasting Psa bacterium was found in both domestic and overseas pollen samples.
While the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) has said there is no scientific evidence the vine killing pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv actinidiae (Psa) can be transmitted via pollen, growers have speculated the disease may have have arrived here in pollen imported from countries such as Japan and Chile.
Imported and domestic pollen is used in artificial pollination to increase yields of the fruit, but Federated Farmers' biosecurity spokesman John Hartnell said the practice should end immediately and imports be suspended until they were certified as free from of viruses and pathogens not already in this country.
Mr Hartnell said a freeze on artificial pollination was required not only to check the spread of the disease - which is expected to cost growers, the wider industry, and the Government up to $75 million over the next three years - but also to protect New Zealand's bees.
Federated Farmers' call comes after it was revealed in an industry bulletin from from Italy - where Psa ravaged up to 50 per cent of the kiwifruit crop two years ago - that New Zealand research suggested the disease could be spread by pollen.
Our domestic bio-terrorism department (MAF) are staring to feel the pressure of using pollen infected with psa while still denying any connection whatsoever between infected pollen and psa. It's a balancing act made more difficult by research from NZ of all places that suggests the Italian experience of psa was also due to infected pollen.
Is MAF's belligerence due to their culpability and if so, doesn't their offer of $25million in damages seem a wee bit insincere?