Coco peat/Coir fibre

Importing Coco Peat Products - updated 17 March 2009

A decision has been made that coco peat material in registered glasshouses may be given a biosecurity clearance after 9 months of hydroponic use. MAFBNZ has recently amended the import health standard to improve biosecurity measures and address importer concerns.

Questions regarding further imports of coco peat and coir products should be directed to Michele Dickson, Plant Imports, MAFBNZ, ph 04 894 0462 or Shane Olsen, Plant Imports, MAFBNZ, ph 04 894 0460. For futher information on registering a glasshouse with MAFBNZ, contact Elen Rogers, ph 09 909 8531.

Suspected new-to-New Zealand weeds

Current situation

  • Coco peat (a type of coir/coconut fibre) has been imported into New Zealand for around 20 years, but imports have increased markedly in the past five years. Coco peat is used widely in the nursery and horticulture industries as a growing medium for plants.
  • New-to-New Zealand weeds associated with imported coco peat were reported to MAFBNZ on February 15th.
  • Since then a number of nurseries around New Zealand have been visited and new-to-New Zealand weeds have been found at several sites. The nurseries involved have undertaken weed control on their sites, including weed removal and the application of a pre-emergence herbicide.
  • 25 new-to-New Zealand weed species have been detected in imported coco peat to date.
  • MAFBNZ has conducted risk assessments to determine the likelihood of establishment and potential impacts of the weeds. Full risk assessments were not conducted on truly tropical weed species that are very unlikely to establish populations in New Zealand. The risk assessments conclude that the weeds pose a low risk to New Zealand, primarily because they are not well suited to New Zealand’s temperate climate.
  • The response to these weeds has now been stood down and no further action will be taken.

Risk Assessments

Page last updated: 17 March 2009