Investment boost for apple & pear sector

Last updated 11:02 30/09/2010
FRUIT INJECTION: It's hoped the country's export potential will get a boost from a $21.6 million investment into a seven-year project to develop new apple and pear varieties.

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The Government has announced a $21.6 million investment into a seven-year project to develop new apple and pear varieties to boost New Zealand's export potential.

Minister of Research Science and Technology Wayne Mapp said the programme would be a joint venture between Prevar and Plant & Food Research

The Foundation for Research, Science and Technology is investing $10.8m in the programme and Prevar would match this with a further $10.8m.

The programme would fast track the breeding of new varieties, Dr Mapp said.

Foundation Chief Executive Murray Bain says that research and development is crucial to the ongoing growth and success of the New Zealand pipfruit industry.

The public-private partnership would ensure the industry had the research needed to increase competitiveness.

"Plant & Food Research is currently world class with its pipfruit breeding technologies, but it is vital to
increase the efficiency and scale of research programmes to keep ahead of international competition."

Prevar chief executive Brett Ennis said there was intense competition in the global pipfruit market,
with many of New Zealand's competitors seeking to export to the same market territories.

"The beauty of this investment is that it will fast-track the breeding of new apple and pear varieties that are
highly differentiated and that meet consumer requirements in Northern Hemisphere and Asian export

"The Foundation's first investment in 2004, of $1.2 million a year, resulted not only in the
commercialisation of new varieties but in the development of tools and knowledge to deliver future
varieties," Dr Ennis said.

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