New Zealand Feijoa growers hit by devastating disease

Feijoa crops in Kerikeri in Northland are being devastated by a fungal disease. The situation is costing growers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In Northland, Anthracnose disease is rife in all but two of Kerikeri's 20 orchards. Orchard owner Stuart Duff has just over 1800 trees and 600 of them have the fungus. The feijoa season has just started but 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. The disease isn't curable.

According to an article on, none of the growers in Kerikeri will break even, some are ripping out their entire crops and others are considering closing down.

The growers have approached the Ministry for Primary Industries but Duff says they haven't been able to help. "I'm feeling totally deflated considering not only will it devastate the feijoas but go onto devastate far bigger industries in the horticulture world in this country," he says.

Scientists from Plant and Food Research, a government funded research institute have visited the area and have told growers they are working to apply for funding to get some sort of program up and running to help them.

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