NZ apple harvest to be "significantly down on estimate"

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NZ apple harvest to be

New Zealand's 2017 apple and pear harvest will short of pre-season estimates of 590,000 metric tons (MT), according to the leading industry body. 

Pipfruit New Zealand (PNZ) said the estimate had been up from the previous record of 560,000MT achieved in 2004.

Of the estimate, 384,000MT was expected to be exported, but with the harvest almost finished in most growing regions, the season has delivered a gross crop "significantly down on estimate."

"The impact of a number of factors could result in our gross crop being as much as 10% below forecast, with later varieties including Braeburn most affected," PNZ CEO Alan Pollard said.

"Despite a great growing season delivering fruit with some of the best eating qualities ever, some of our forecast assumptions have not supported the volumes anticipated in January.

"Once the season is over we will review those to ensure a more accurate forecast for next season”.

Pollard did highlight, however, that while volumes were down, fruit quality was "very good"

“It is likely that in some of our key markets, such as Europe and the UK, volumes will be at or below those achieved last season” he added.

“While the lower export volume is disappointing, consumers can still expect to experience the unique taste and quality that New Zealand apples and pears are renowned for”.

Despite the setback, the NZ apple and pear industry remains confident of achieving export revenue of NZD1 billion ahead of its target of 2022. In 2016, export revenue was NZD720m. 

Australia's pome fruit industry body also recently indicated that volumes could be 10% down on estimates.


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