NZ to pick up U.S.-bound apple exports -

NZ to pick up U.S.-bound apple exports

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NZ to pick up U.S.-bound apple exports

Despite some orchard damages in Nelson, Pipfruit New Zealand CEO Alan Pollard expects his country's apple volumes will be similar in 2016 with more fruit going to the U.S. and China.

Speaking with, Pollard described 2015 as a very good year for the industry and the upcoming crop was on a similar trajectory.

"Size is probably looking a bit better than last year which is good; quality is still outstanding," he said.

"What we're finding is the point in time that we enter the markets they're normally ready for our fruit – we thought there might well be some issues last year in Europe but actually we found things to our liking in the end."

He said he understood the U.S. crop was down a bit and the size profile was also slightly lower.

"I think we’ll get more to the States this year, particularly based on the size thing," he said.

"We have a size profile the consumer wants; there’s not going to be a lot of that in the market this year, so we expect more volume will go there.

"It was almost 10,000 [metric] tons down last year on the year before, so I think we’ll make that up again this year."

This is by no means a substantial shift, and overall Pollard was optimistic good selling environments and high demand would continue.

"We're continuing to produce good volumes, very high quality, we've got exclusive varieties that put us in good stead particularly for Asia, so I think it's steady as she goes for us."

He said the temporary closure of all Indian ports bar one for foreign apple imports "didn't really affect much in the end at all", but the sector was concerned to make sure the issue was resolved.

"We mainly go through Mumbai and Chennai, so with those both open that’s really good – there are still a couple of ports closed and we had some small volumes through those, but probably 95% goes through the other two ports," Pollard said.

"We’re always conscious of phytosanitary access into Asia. That can be quite difficult at times – we’ve got increasing volumes into China and we certainly keep an eye on that, but again, we’re getting some really good results out of China."

But will exports to the Middle Kingdom rise again in 2016?

"I’d like to think so. We went from 9,000MT the season before to about 20,000MT last year, so it’s number six or seven for us in terms of size and it’ll continue along that path I think for us," he said.

"Again, not large volumes compared to some of the other countries that send their product through, but in the end I think it’ll steadily increase for us.

"It’s a very good market, and we’ve got the New Zealand Queen [variety] for example which has really high demand up there; the whole New Zealand series is well-regarded in China. As always they take our Galas of course."

Photo: Pipfruit NZ


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