[23 August/The Country]

Consumer demand for residue-free produce is on the rise. University of Auckland Researcher, Madeleine Trusewich, said New Zealand’s kiwifruit industry would benefit from fast tracking its shift towards biopesticides. Through her internship with Plant & Food Research, she determined shifting sooner was a big opportunity for New Zealand. Zespri was working with Plant & Food Research, AgResearch and the Bio-Protection Research Centre to develop and promote biopesticides. Zespri already restricted the use of pesticides to comply with or exceed EU limits. Despite health and environmental benefits, the uptake of biopesticides had remained low in the industry. All Zespri fruit was required to be produced in line with the Zespri KiwiGreen Integrated Pest Management Programme. Ms Trusewich added kiwifruit growers were the ultimate source of knowledge when it came to pest and disease control and they had a crucial role in the development of biopesticides.