[4 December/Rural News]

Potatoes New Zealand Chief Executive, Chris Claridge, said the decision to keep the potato mop top virus (PMTV) in New Zealand may be in the best interests the industry in the long term. He said technical experts have indicated that they don’t believe it is technically feasible to eradicate the PMTV, but it might well be possible to contain it through good management practices. The international advice they had was there would be too much disruption to the industry if they went down the eradication path, with Mr Claridge adding that it was ‘important any cure did not kill the patient’. Potatoes NZ are working with the Ministry for Primary Industries, who say the disease is endemic to North America and Europe where it is generally managed effectively without causing major production losses. The disease was found in Canterbury in the Innovator variety which is only used for potato chips.