Hydrogen cyanamide or 'Hi-Cane'

Kiwifruit industry warns of effects if officials ban controversial chemical

New Zealand’s kiwifruit industry employs 3000 growers and 25,000 workers. It's a massive earner for New Zealand - almost $2 billion last year. But now there are concerns about the future of a key ingredient to its success.

The kiwifruit industry says it's bracing for a multi-billion-dollar hit if officials ban a controversial chemical used to grow the fruit. The chemical spray hydrogen cyanamide or 'Hi-Cane' is sprayed on vines to ensure they fruit at the same time.

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers (NZKGI) chief executive Nikki Johnson says hydrogen cyanamide is crucial to the industry. However, it's now been revealed the kiwifruit industry has gone to great lengths to stop hydrogen cyanamide from being banned.

Parties involved claim that in the first year, any ban could cost the industry up to $300 million. Over ten years it could lose the industry up to $2.8 billion. It could also cause mass unemployment right across kiwifruit regions.

"That effect could be quite devastating and it could actually mean they can't grow kiwifruit in their region, or it may mean their yield is significantly impacted," Johnson told Newshub.

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