Green-fingered Kiwis have been invited to share their thoughts regarding proposed changes to import rules for tomato seeds.
Under the new rules, instigated by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to improve biosecurity, it will become mandatory for seed exporters to have seeds certified as being free of five diseases. Home gardeners and commercial growers will only be able to import seed sourced from businesses that comply with new restrictions.
The changes are aimed to restrict the establishment of plant viruses and viroids, which cause plants to become seriously damaged or die and tomatoes to become blotchy and marbled. These diseases spread easily between plants and can also infect other species, such as potatoes.
Home growers will still be able to cultivate the heirloom varieties they have already been growing, save seeds and share them with other gardeners in New Zealand, even if the seeds originated overseas.
MPI’s tomato seed consultation is open for public comment until July 20. Click here for further information about the proposed changes or to make a submission.