Devastating disease hits Kerikeri, Northland

NZ feijoa grower fears they 'won't be here next year'

Feijoa crops in Kerikeri in Northland are being devastated by a fungal disease, already costing growers hundreds of thousands of dollars. Anthracnose disease is rife in all but 2 of Kerikeri's 20 orchards. Orchard owner Stuart Duff has just over 1800 trees and 600 of them have the fungus. Duff says he's already thrown away "just over three tonnes" of the fruit.

The fungus is a mutation that starts off as a small black spot which spreads all over the fruit within three days. While it's not dangerous to eat, it means the fruit isn't saleable.

Mr Duff has had his orchard for seven years and held a crisis meeting with other growers today. He says none of the growers in Kerikeri will break even, some are ripping out their entire crops and others are considering closing down.

According to tvnz.co.nz, the growers have approached the Ministry for Primary Industries but he says they haven't been able to help. The MPI says it can't help. It's role is to diagnose and investigate any new and exotic diseases and this fungus has been known about for more than 10 years.

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