More than 150 kiwifruit growers attended a recent Direct Management Services (DMS) information evening to learn more about the company's offer to convert part of their orchards to the new G3 gold variety _ at no cost to growers.
Around one third of those who attended the meeting formally expressed their interest in the conversion programme, with their orchards to be individually visited and assessed by DMS in the next few weeks.
DMS is a kiwifruit management, post-harvest operator and packer based in the Western Bay of Plenty. Director Paul Jones says the information presented included a DMS overview of the current state of the industry, the key facts about the G3 gold variety, some examples of recent conversions, and the DMS offer to growers to convert part of their orchards to G3.
``We firmly believe that the kiwifruit industry has a strong future in New Zealand, despite some of the challenges we have all faced in the recent past. The returns on green kiwifruit remain strong, but the opportunities around gold are even better.
``Sadly, Psa will never be fully eradicated in New Zealand and the original 16A gold variety has no future in New Zealand as a result of that.
We believe that G3 will become the mainstream New Zealand gold variety in the future and we already know it is profitable to grow.
``We want to take growers with us as we enter this exciting new phase of the kiwifruit industry in New Zealand.''
Mr Jones says DMS staff have also been receiving positive feedback about the conversion programme from people outside the kiwifruit sector.
``There is a significant number of people in the Bay of Plenty whose income and livelihood depends on a successful and thriving kiwifruit industry. Our region and our sector have been hit hard by Psa and other challenges, and people are welcoming some positive comment about the future of the industry in New Zealand. We're proud to be leading the charge on that front.''
Mr Jones says DMS staff are personally visiting interested growers to assess the orchard compatibility for the conversion programme.
``There are a limited number of G3 licences available from Zespri and we believe those licences will reach capacity sooner rather than later. If growers are considering converting to G3 in the future, we really need to be having those conversations now, before it's too late.''
For more information go to www.dms4kiwi.co.nz