Chinese kiwiberry importer overcomes hiccups from NZ fruit fly detection
While New Zealand's kiwiberries are grown outside the 27.2km (16.9mi) radius of the Queensland fruit fly (QFF) detection zone, the appearance of the pest has posed logistical challenges to traders this season.
Wang Zhizhe, a representative of Shanghai-based importer Chuanye, told www.freshfruitportal.com that the Ministry for Primary Industries' (MPI) establishment of an export restriction zone that included Auckland Airport had temporarily made business difficult for the sensitive fruit.
"The previous notice issued indicated a smaller restriction zone that did not include the airport property, so it had no impact on our business," Wang said earlier this week.
"But now that they included Auckland Airport, we will have to route to Christchurch Airport, which is much farther from our production site.
"Plus there'll be extra stops along the way until our delicate products reach Shanghai, posing significant challenges to the product quality. So honestly, this is not really a viable alternative solution."
However, yesterday Wang informed us his New Zealand partners decided to pest proof from the production site so the Auckland Airport could still be used, with a shipment expected to arrive in Shanghai on Saturday.
He said New Zealand's kiwiberry season began on Feb. 14 and was expected to last until the end of March, but the later date for Chinese New Year meant Chuanye started its import campaign 10 days later than usual.
"We've been running promotion campaigns in Shanghai for several years now so the local population is quite accepting of the fruit, which is still not the case in many other Chinese cities.
"Right now, we're only half way through the season, yet we have sold more than the sum of 2014 season," he said, mentioning the company had imported 5,000 boxes in the season to date.
He said the price had been fairly stable due to healthy competition between several major importers, with the fruit sold at CNY88 (US$14.21) for two boxes of kiwiberries.
New Zealand apples are also a key import crop for Chuanye.
"All I hope is that there's no more extension of the fruit fly impact zone...there have been ups and downs since we resumed our New Zealand apple import business. I hope all will go well."