On 1 October 2016, the Kiwifruit Plant Certification Scheme (KPCS) became mandatory. It is important all nurseries producing kiwifruit plants, or which may do so in the future, fully understand the implications of this change
Only KPCS certified kiwifruit plants are able to be legally bought or sold in New Zealand, and all nurseries producing kiwifruit plants must be approved under the KPCS by Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH). These requirements are mandatory under the Biosecurity Act 1993 and failure to comply may result in a prosecution with significant penalties (for an individual, a term of imprisonment not exceeding 3 months, or a fine not exceeding $50,000 or both; for a corporation, a fine not exceeding $100,000).
KVH introduced the KPCS to reduce the risk of pests and pathogens being spread through the movement of kiwifruit nursery plants. This includes the spread of known pests and pathogens such as Cherry leaf roll virus and Psa, but also other threats that may be present in New Zealand but not yet detected, such as Ceratocystis fimbriata. Without internal biosecurity controls, a new pest or pathogen is likely to be widespread by the time it is detected, compromising any chance of eradication, and production impacts of established pests will grow.
The KPCS was launched in May 2014, allowing a two and a half year ‘transition period’ for nurseries to meet the new requirements or transition out of kiwifruit plant production. This ‘phase-in’ approach recognised the long and close association between existing nurseries and the kiwifruit industry and that better biosecurity is more likely to be achieved through industries working in partnership.
As well as requiring nurseries to demonstrate they meet a HACCP based standard (including independent audit, monitoring and testing requirements), the scheme has provided nurseries with assistance, including access to best practice information and free specialist expert advice.
NZPPI (previously NGINZ) contributed to development of the KPCS, along with individual kiwifruit plant producers, to ensure it provides effective biosecurity protection and is practical and workable for nurseries. Thirteen nurseries have already achieved certification, with overwhelmingly positive feedback including “this is just good sensible practice we should have in all of our nurseries.”
Further information about the KPCS, including the new legal requirements, is available at: www.kvh.org.nz/indnurseries.