New Zealand fruit crops unscathed by earthquake

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New Zealand fruit crops unscathed by earthquake

Representatives of New Zealand's apple, kiwifruit and avocado industries have said the country's operations were unaffected by the recent powerful earthquake. shutterstock_94877275

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck New Zealand's South Island just after midnight on Monday, triggering a tsunami and sending aftershocks across the country that left at least two dead.

It hit near the coastal community of Kaikoura, some 93 kilometers (55 miles) northeast of the city of Christchurch, the US Geological Survey reported.

In a statement sent to, a representative of kiwifruit marketer Zespri said the country's growers were unaffected by the natural disaster.

"The earthquakes will not affect the 2016 New Zealand kiwifruit sales season," spokesperson Rachel Lynch said.

"There are no orchards or postharvest operations based in the affected areas of Kaikoura, Wellington and Hamner, and our shipping programme is coming to an end for the season. Zespri’s operations are based in the Bay of Plenty which is unaffected."

Pipfruit New Zealand chief executive officer Alan Pollard said the country's apple industry also seemed to have escaped any damage.

"I'm not aware of issues in our growing regions. The impact appears to be limited for us," he said.

New Zealand Avocado CEO Jen Scoular also said the current season would be unaffected by the earthquake as most of the growers were based in the North Island, in the Bay of Plenty and Auckland.

Meanwhile, Horticulture New Zealand (HortNZ) said growers had been 'relatively fortunate' but believes there would still be some problems.

"It has not been a great start to the week for some of our growers, with the earthquakes and now bad weather hitting the top of the South Island and lower North Island," HortNZ said.

"Horticulture has been relatively fortunate, in that damage from the earthquakes has not hit growers' properties too badly, with a couple of exceptions, but the earthquake damage to the domestic transport network and the bad weather will have negative impacts for some growers in the weeks ahead."

It said some fresh crops would be impacted by transport disruptions within the country, which could lead to shortages in some areas. Delays due to road closures and use of alternate and sometimes longer routes could also impact on delivering fresh produce.

Other issues include a potential lack of staff for harvesting crops if they have been impacted by the earthquake and may not want to come to work.

In addition to the earthquake, HortNZ said growers had been affected by heavily rainfall.

"While many growers are out harvesting in the rain, some crops have been destroyed and won't be marketable; we have reports of silverbeet being flattened by the rain," it said.

"Also, some fresh crops don't travel well when they are saturated, and so won't make it to market. This is likely to cause shortages and, potentially, higher prices."


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