NZ: Kiwifruit industry veteran honored for pioneering work
The New Zealand kiwifruit industry's Fresh Carriers Hayward Medal has been awarded to Dr David Steven, recognizing his work on pest and disease management, improving environmental outcomes and underscoring market confidence in Zespri.
Kiwifruit Industry Advisory Committee chairman and Zespri director Paul Jones presented the medal at the Gala Dinner for the industry’s Momentum conference.
The medal recognizes the "enormous impact" of Steven’s lifetime of service to the kiwifruit industry.
“David developed the Integrated Pest Management programme, known as KiwiGreen, back in 1991 which fundamentally shifted how the kiwifruit industry manages diseases and pests, and changed the philosophy of agrichemical use forever," Jones said.
"It revolutionised horticulture around the world and 26 years later, KiwiGreen still defines the way we use agrichemicals and manage our orchards.
“It also moved the industry towards using more environmentally-friendly agrichemicals to target specific pests and diseases, resulting in greater biodiversity in the orchard."
He said that rigorous systems like this underpinned the Zespri brand, which turns 20 this week
“David pioneered the idea of “demonstrated need” 26 years ago through the KiwiGreen programme where orchardists would monitor their orchards and only use the agrichemicals they actually needed at that time and recording it, shifting from calendar spraying to a more low-impact philosophy," Jones said.
"While this is now mainstream practice, the move away from calendar spraying was radical at the time and met with considerable resistance.
“Reducing agrichemical use saved more than money: it lowered the risk of residues on fruit, reduced environmental impacts and underpinned market confidence in our fruit."
The Fresh Carriers Hayward Medal was presented by Mr Takeshige, president of Fresh Carriers at the event.
“We at Fresh Carriers are proud to have partnered with the NZ kiwifruit industry for the past 30 years, delivering ever-increasing volumes of premium Zespri Kiwifruit to Japan, Korea and China," Takeshige said.
“There are many people who have devoted their lives to building the success of this industry around the world. Fresh Carriers is delighted and proud to sponsor the Hayward Medal which recognises those who have made an outstanding contribution to the industry."