NZ apple industry needs to avoid ruin, says expert

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NZ apple industry needs to avoid ruin, says expert

A leading New Zealand apple expert has urged the country's industry to 'turn itself around' through more international promotion, collective shipping and abandoning marginal varieties, website reported.

Former Apple and Pear Board chairman John McCliskie, told a Pipfruit NZ conference the industry had to deal with its issues or face ruin, the story reported.

"We are in real crisis. Growers are not going to see the next 10 years unless we can turn this industry around now. We have had just two good years in the last 10 years, coinciding with a low dollar, we have had two to three average years and five to six quite bad years," McCliskie was quoted as saying.

He said while Pipfruit NZ had outlined prices of NZ$23 (US$22.50) per carton were needed to grow the industry in a 2006 report, today exporters were often receiving returns of NZ$10 (US$8.64) or NZ$11 (US$9.50) per carton, the story reported.

"Unfortunately, the industry is characterised by selling into markets where the fruit has no known destination," he was quoted as saying.

He said Australian market entry was the best opportunity to 'do something good' for the industry, so the Horticulture Export Authority should be utilized to control volumes.

"Let's not stuff it up. There are only two retailers. If we all knock on their doors, we deserve the outcome we will get," he was quoted as saying.

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