It is now up to New Zealand growers to decide whether Zespri should progress with a trial partnership with unauthorised growers of G3 kiwifruit in China.
A producer vote, funded by Zespri, will assess grower attitudes towards the potential trial. It is planned to take place later this year to avoid interfering with the New Zealand harvest season.
It is hoped that the results will come in time for the Chinese kiwifruit season that begins in September, says Zespri International China strategic project lead Matt Crawford.
The vote comes after independent Zespri regulator, Kiwifruit New Zealand, found Zespri’s initial proposal posed “more than a low risk” to the interests of producers.
“We’re now in discussions with the industry on the merits and risks of the proposed trial and the reasons we think it is the best way forward. We’re also working closely with KNZ as part of that process to ensure we get the regulatory process right.
“To be successful, we need 75 per cent of those growers that vote to be in favour, as well as 75 per cent of those who vote relative to their kiwifruit production.
“We’ve always said that a commercial trial is a part of our multipronged approach to controlling the issue.
“We still believe it’s the best way to work alongside the Chinese government and industry, to help control the spread of unauthorised G3 plantings.”