The number of Bay of Plenty kiwifruit orchards today confirmed with the kiwifruit vine-killing disease PSA has now doubled to eight.
The eight are all in the greater Te Puke region, while 28 orchards have tested negative for the bacteria Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae., or PSA, including orchards around Gisborne. Two orchards are waiting on test results.
Marketing company Zespri, in a press release this afternoon, said there would be a closed industry advisory committee meeting in Mt Maunganui tonight.
Any decision from the meeting, on how to tackle the disease that threatens the billion dollar industry, would be discussed with Biosecurity Minister David Carter tomorrow morning and growers would not be commenting until after that.
A media conference is planned for midday tomorrow.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) has placed restriction notices on 11 orchards and is currently investigating 82 others where 300 samples are taken from each site.
Kiwifruit growers from around the country have emailed in photos of potential PSA symptoms, 176 have sent photos of potential symptoms while 382 have confirmed they are free of symptoms.
Advanced symptoms have been seen on, and limited to, one orchard. The symptoms include red weeping from the vine and shoot and cane dieback, which indicates rapid disease progression since the leaf spotting was first identified.
Copper spraying and cutting back is continuing this weekend of the infected orchards.
Zespri has said it hopes New Zealand will be the first country to completely eradicate the airborne bacteria, but admits it may not be possible if it is too widespread.
However, there have so far been no confirmed cases outside Te Puke.
Zespri's manager of corporate and grower services Carol Ward told NZPA if anyone could beat it, New Zealand could, although other countries -- Italy, France, Portugal, Japan, Korea and China -- had been forced to live with the bacteria.
Mr Carter has said it was doubtful that New Zealand would be able to completely eradicate the disease, which it is now emerging may have been here for some time and is now threatening to undermine the billion dollar industry.
``Many of the growers are reporting anecdotally that they have seen the symptoms in other years and if we could confirm that, it does suggest that PSA is a disease that has been there for a long period of time.