Psa is a plant bacterial disease that aggressively attacks kiwifruit, resulting in crop loss and vine death. After 3 years of Psa in NZ control options are still limited – the estimated cost of Psa could be as high as $400 M over the next 5 years. There is a strong demand for a product to combat Psa with minimal environmental impact.
This new bio pesticide from Plant & Food Research has shown good efficacy in mitigating the symptoms of Psa. Furthermore, the ingredients are food-grade products and pose no issue to human health – and likely bee health, though this is yet to be tested. The KiwiNet Investment Committee approved PreSeed investment into this project earlier this year, as it was identified as a promising project for protecting NZ exports while also commercialising the technology internationally.
David Hughes, General Manager Commercial at Plant & Food Research Ltd says, “KiwiNet offers a unique opportunity to change the dynamic between New Zealand's public research organisations. The intensively competitive nature of the science funding arrangements in place over the last 10 years has weakened commercialisation linkages between organisations that should have strong interests in working together. KiwiNet's mix of CRI's and Universities, strong frameworks and good working climate, offer a chance for change.”