Dr David Steven has been awarded the Fresh Carriers Hayward Medal for 2017.
Steven was presented with the award at a gala dinner following the New Zealand kiwifruit industry’s Momentum conference in the Bay of Plenty last Friday.
Kiwifruit Industry Advisory Committee chairman and Zespri director, Paul Jones, said Steven was recognised for his work developing pest and disease management methods and improving environmental outcomes for the 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 explained.
“It also moved the industry towards using more environmentally-friendly agrichemicals to target specific pests and diseases, resulting in greater biodiversity in the orchard.”
Over 25 years after it was developed, the KiwiGreen system still defines the way New Zealand growers use agrichemicals and manage their orchards.
Jones said the system helps to generate market confidence in the Zespri brand, by ensuring consumers receive premium quality, great tasting and healthy fruit.
“Reducing agrichemical use has saved more than money: it lowered the risk of residues on fruit, reduced environmental impacts and underpinned market confidence in our fruit,” Jones explained.
“David has continued to lead and support Zespri and growers in this vital role for many years, retiring just last year. His was the familiar voice at the end of the KiwiGreen helpline, on hand to help growers solve problems on orchards around the country.”
The Hayward Medal is named after the green Hayward cultivar and acknowledges the contribution horticulturalist Hayward Wright played in shaping the industry. The award celebrates the service of leaders within the New Zealand kiwifruit industry, with Steven joining a distinguished line of recipients, including Russell Lowe and Sir Brian Elwood.