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Due to a pest detected in 2011

Spanish kiwi production to drop this year

Kiwi production in Galicia, Spain, will be lower this year; not only because of the adverse weather conditions registered in the spring, but also because of a disease detected in 2011 that affects the plant's development. Producers believe that the Galician government should take measures to control it through research and tests aimed at finding a cure.

Madrid reminded the Galician autonomous government that they are the ones responsible for helping in the fight against Pseudomonas Sryngae Actinidiae (PSA), as they possess the authority on plant health issues. The government acknowledged being aware of the pest since May 2011.

Martín Fernández, agricultural technician at Kiwi Atlántico, explains that the disease has spread in the region of Baixo Miño. "The treatments currently available are unable to control the infection, especially in the areas with gold kiwis," explained Fernández. "PSA has been causing damage worldwide for years, but European plantations are the ones having the most trouble," added the technician.

According to Fernández, "in other countries like New Zealand or Chile antibiotics are employed against PSA, but the EU's legislation forbids their use in agriculture," so research is necessary to find alternative effective remedies.

PSA does not affect the fruit's quality, but it leads to drops in production. Leaves appear spotted and "in extreme cases, it causes the plant to dry out," explained Fernández. "The treatments we apply, based on copper, like the ones they use for grapes or fruit trees, prevent the spread, but do not control it," he added. That is why it is necessary "for the Galician government to get involved in looking for solutions; not just to provide monetary aid, but also with research and tests." 

For their part, technicians of the firm "Kiwi España" pointed out that PSA is an illness "like the flu, which we need to learn to live with." They agree that only with tests supported by the administration will they be able to eradicate it.

Source: Farodevigo

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