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More support for kiwifruit growers

Published: 8:11PM Wednesday December 05, 2012 Source: ONE News

  •  (Source: Photos.com)
    Source: Photos.com

North Island kiwifruit growers affected by the Psa-V vine disease will be offered a package of support measures.

Psa has been declared a medium-scale biosecurity event under the Government's Primary Sector Recovery Policy, triggering further assistance for growers dealing with the impacts of the disease.

Primary Industries Minister David Carter said Psa was first detected in New Zealand in November 2010 but there was a noticeable time lag before it began to affect orchard incomes.

In the early stages, the Government committed $25 million in a dollar-for-dollar partnership with the kiwifruit industry to assist with disease management.

"Psa has presented an unprecedented challenge for growers. Assistance is needed to cope with uncertainty, to introduce orchard management changes and to make the right business decisions," Carter said.

The package of measures:

Recovery co-ordinators to provide one-on-one recovery help to growers

Provision of care by local providers, focussed on grower welfare initiatives

Rural Assistance Payments (RAPs) for growers suffering extreme hardship

Support with technology transfer and advice

Reimbursement, on a case-by-case basis, of costs incurred by volunteers

The measures are in addition to recovery measures already available to eligible affected growers through Inland Revenue and the Ministry of Social Development, including flexible tax provisions and hardship assistance.

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (NZKGI) has welcomed the financial and recovery support package. President Neil Trebilco said the organisation has worked very closely with the Government, to firstly extend the coverage of existing adverse events recovery provisions to include incursions on pests and disease, and then get the Psa-V support package approved for kiwifruit growers.

"This will give some growers most affected by Psa a level of financial and welfare support to help them through the impact of this disaster."

"The reality is the full impact of Psa is only just beginning to be felt as many growers start to face their first season without all, or a large part of their orchard cash flow, as a result of having lost their vines to the disease."

"When the income from their last harvest stops is when the financial and psychological pressure of Psa will weigh most heavily on growers and their families," Trebilco said.

"The nature of the spread of Psa means that its impact will not be felt by everyone at the same time. It will continue to spread through the country so that means growers in different regions will face the pressure of the Psa incursion at different times".

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