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Why admit bee pollen imports, farmers want answers

In line with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s (MAF) decision not to prohibit imported pollen use, New Zealand kiwi farmers now want a line of reasoning for the admission after the PSA outbreak, according to’s website.

The MAF underlines that the Ministry’s own examinations did not confirm that imported pollen caused the PSA outbreak. Numerous farmers currently depend on the practice of artificial pollination.

John Hartnell, spokesperson of the Federated Farmers, wants the Ministry to implement improved test methods that guarantee the safety of disease-free pollen imports. Farmers also also demanding that appropriate screening for viruses or fungal spore be conducted for imports.

The outbreak of PSA on New Zealand’s kiwi plants is confirmed by 55 affected plantations around the nation. The MAF stipulates that farmers must maintain good hygienic standards on their orchards to diminish a further disease spread. Experts expect the disease to cause farmers approximately $75 million only in the next three years.

According to a report, pollen has been imported six times - from Chile in December 2008, March and November 2009 and April this year; and from China in June 2009 and June this year.

Citing MAF, the report said Chile remains free of PSA, but kiwifruit in China is known to have the disease.

Some of the pollen imports were re-exported, but the pollen imported from China in November 2009 was used in this country, although where remains unclear.

MAF also imported infected material from Italy itself for research purposes, which was destroyed after use.

Last week MAF said there was no firm evidence that artificial pollination caused PSA, citing pollen collected in New Zealand in 2009 that had tested positive for the disease.

-- Sources:;