Chinese suspension comes in "vintage" year for NZ kiwiberries

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Chinese suspension comes in

China's sudden ban on kiwiberry imports has taken New Zealand growers and exporters by surprise, but the message is that there will be other markets available to absorb the excess product.

Photo: Freshmax

Photo: Freshmax

Seeka CEO Michael Franks told the irony of the decision was that it occurred in what "might be the very best crop" New Zealand's ever had for the niche fruit.

"That's in terms of size, the way it tastes, the way it looks, it's a vintage year for kiwiberries," he said, clarifying that in general the fruit was not a particularly high-volume crop.

"It took us all by surprise and we're a bit dumbfounded as to why this has happened."

He said Seeka would likely be all right as it exported the fruit to a major Australian supermarket chain, and there were other markets overseas accepting New Zealand-grown product like Singapore and Hong Kong.

"It's a difficult product to grow, harvest and pack well, so it's a product that can get a premium," he said.

"The fruit that we were going to sell to China will probably be sent to Australia and the still should be a good season."

Freshmax New Zealand export division manager Tracey Burns also responded to the Chinese authorities' decision.

"It’s disappointing and it’s a significant issue for us at Freshmax as it’s our single biggest market," Burns said.

A Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) spokesperson said the ministry was working with Chinese authorities on resuming the kiwiberry trade with China as quickly as possible.

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