Pipfruit industry recognises the brains behind apple export success
10 August 2017
New Zealand is a world leader in the apple export business and the industry has recognised Plant & Food Research scientist Dr Jim Walker for his outstanding contribution to that success.
Pipfruit New Zealand chair Nadine Tunley presented the New Zealand Apple and Pear Outstanding Contribution Award to a key member of that team, Hawke’s Bay research station scientist Dr Jim Walker at its conference in Napier recently.
Board member Peter Beavan said Dr Walker was ‘the brains behind Integrated Fruit Production, or IFP, which led the world in drastically reducing the regular and heavy use of chemical sprays. Instead, pest numbers were monitored through pheromone traps, and natural pest predators were encouraged. As a result, biodiversity in IFP orchards is as high as in organic orchards and New Zealand apples have access to the greatest number of export markets.
Dr Walker also helped develop the Apple Futures programme which further reduced pesticide residue on fruit to negligible levels and enabled the industry to meet strict residue and quarantine requirements in more than 70 international markets. He was also part of the science support team that finally won access for New Zealand apples to the Australian market.