The nursery and fruit-growing companies at the heart of the legal action against MPI over seized apple and stonefruit plants and plant material have been working hard to facilitate the rebuilding of the relationship between MPI and the USA-based Clean Plant Centre North West (CPCNW).
Overnight last night at the CPCNW facility in Prosser, Washington, representatives from MPI held their first face-to-face meeting with members of the CPCNW since a discontinued audit in March.
Industry member and owner of McGrath Nurseries, Andy McGrath, arranged the meeting on behalf of the New Zealand companies most affected when MPI revoked the accreditation of the CPCNW facility.
CPCNW has been supplying New Zealand orchards and nurseries with new and innovative plant varieties for over 30 years and plays a critical role in the future of the New Zealand apple and stonefruit export industry.
CPCNW holds new varieties of peaches, nectarines and cherries that hold significant potential for New Zealand nurseries and orchards. These varieties have been specifically developed to meet consumer demand for taste, size and nutritional value. The prospect of commercially growing these varieties in New Zealand opens export market opportunities to China, USA, and elsewhere.
Andy McGrath said, “We are heartened that the meeting was collaborative and constructive. The conversation regarding reaccreditation of CPCNW was robust and I am pleased to see both parties moving towards an acceptable position whereby accreditation may be achieved in a timely manner.
“We will continue to foster a strong working relationship between MPI and CPCNW. New Zealand stands to gain much more from these discussions. We are a small player in the global horticulture and fresh produce market and access to premium varieties is important for our continued success.
“But this is just the start for MPI. It is about time they picked up the ball and started running with it. Too much taxpayers money has been wasted on MPI in-action or illegal actions such as the illegal seizure of plant material,” added Andy McGrath.
“Industry members are seeking a resolution with regard to compensation for the losses and costs incurred as a result of the illegal seizure of plant materials. Nursery owners and orchardists suffered significant disruption to normal business, and the stress these owners were put under impacted on personal lives and relationships. MPI has hardly acknowledged the impact of their actions.
“In addition, the industry is seeking a full review and update of the Import Health Standards (IHS) for Prunus (stonefruit), Malus (apple), and Pyrus (pear) as these are well overdue. The standard for Pyrus expired in 2004!, added Andy McGrath.
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