Growers say hydrogen cyanamide is crucial to the industry - but there are fears it's making people sick.
The new project could also help ease the spike in tomato prices seen during winter.
"As soon as I pulled it out of the soil I knew straight away that it looked like Dave".
With foreign labour unable to enter NZ, unions are trying to force an industry re-think.
Only 20 percent of senior roles in the industry are held by females, despite women representing 50 percent of workers in the sector.
The Government claims unemployed Kiwis can pick up the slack but the industry says that'll be a challenge.
A Hawke's Bay company believes it will be the first in the world to develop a mobile friendly survey to uncover serious workers rights problems in horticulture.
Illegal plantings of New Zealand's high valued gold kiwifruit variety, Sun Gold, have almost doubled in the past six months in China.
A group of kiwifruit growers, which unsuccessfully sued the Government over the vine killing disease PSA, has been thrown a lifeline.