The issue of biosecurity in New Zealand. A case study of the PSA epidemic on the kiwifruit industry

University essay from Göteborgs universitet / Institutionen för ekonomi och samhälle

Abstract: In this age of globalisation the need for increased trade across borders has also meant the increase of movement of biological material - why biosecurity has become such an important issue in the 21st century. New Zealand with its unique flora and fauna has historically had an advantage in agriculture where kiwifruit is one of the most prosperous export industries, thanks to a comprehensive biosecurity policy. This thesis will examine the case of the devastating Pseudomonas syringae pv. Actinidiae (PSA) disease on the kiwifruit industry in New Zealand: where it came from, how it has been handled and what its source may be. Since this has revealed flaws in the biosecurity systems, it raises the question if there is a dilemma - between the vital interests of biosecurity, and that of trade. In the pursuit of an effective and profitable industry, the kiwifruit flowers are in many cases artificially pollinated, and with globalisation of trade an international market for pollen has emerged which is suspected to be a factor contributing to the PSA outbreak on orchards in New Zealand‘s Bay of Plenty region, This thesis will focus around what response the PSA disease outbreak has triggered both in word and action, rather than to study factors as to why the PSA disease outbreak on New Zealand‘s kiwifruit industry could emerge, considering its advanced biosecurity strategies. From this, the key questions that will be addressed more in depth are as follows: 1) In connection with the problems PSA has caused, what have the various actors‘ approach been to handling the issue? 2) How has the government department responsible for biosecurity been the subject of scrutiny after the PSA outbreak? 3) What do the various actors consider to be the source of the PSA outbreak? While the costs PSA has inflicted on kiwifruit growers is many hundreds of millions of dollars, most of the focus of the industry is on improving the biosecurity set up, which the responsible authorities have also endeavoured to do, by limiting the spread and investing in research for disease resistant varieties of kiwifruit. Key

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