WELLINGTON, Sept. 1 -- New Zealand and China are to work together in research that supports the kiwifruit - or Chinese gooseberry industry, particularly in studying diseases such as Psa, under an agreement signed by two government agencies.
New Zealand's Plant and Food government research institute and the Sichuan Provincial Academy of Natural Resource Sciences ( SPANRS) would establish the China-New Zealand Joint Laboratory for Kiwifruit Research, Plant and Food announced Monday.
The "virtual lab" would allow scientists from China and New Zealand to collaborate more closely and provide access to new information to further research, Plant and Food Research chief executive officer Peter Landon-Lane said in a statement.
"Our on-going collaboration has supported research into various areas, most recently in understanding the kiwifruit disease Psa ( Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae) and how this can be managed," said Landon-Lane
"This agreement will allow our scientists to work more closely together and share resources to build knowledge in new areas, including kiwifruit diseases and physiology, and in conservation of the natural germplasm that exists in China."
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed at an event attended by officials from the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and China's Ministry of Science and Technology.
In February last year, New Zealand scientists claimed they had genetic evidence that the Psa canker disease that had devastated the country's kiwifruit crops since 2010 originated in China.
At the end of November 2012, an estimated 68 percent of New Zealand kiwifruit orchards were known to have the vine-killing Psa bacterium, up from 26 percent a year earlier.