NZ: Zespri forecasts record kiwifruit volumes

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NZ: Zespri forecasts record kiwifruit volumes

The season's first vessel carrying New Zealand kiwifruit from the Port of Tauranga to China is due to set sail this week, marking the start of what looks like another record-breaking season. 

This year’s New Zealand-grown crop is expected to be about 20 million trays, or 70,000 metric tons (MT), higher than last year.

Kiwifruit marketer Zespri will announce the current season’s sales figures in May but says they will "certainly exceed" NZ$2 billion.

In 2017, 123 million trays of New Zealand fruit – more than 430,000MT – were sold and 102 million of those trays came out of the Bay of Plenty. An additional 14 million trays of fruit were grown offshore.

Zespri chief executive Dan Mathieson says both the company’s two biggest markets, Japan and China, are forecast to grow strongly. Zespri is also looking for solid growth across the rest of Asia as well as Europe and North America, where supply did not meet demand last year.

“Demand for safe, healthy fruit continues to grow exponentially in China, in terms of both volume and value. However, our Japanese market is going great guns as well – we’ve seen a 30 percent sales growth there over the past four years," he said.

“So our two major markets are pretty much neck and neck and repeat purchasing is very strong from our consumers.” 

Kiwifruit continues to rank top among all New Zealand’s horticultural exports. The country's 2500 kiwifruit growers collectively own about 13,500 hectares of orchards. Zespri has opened the tender for an additional 750 hectares of SunGold license this year and, subject to demand, each year out to 2020.

By 2025, Zespri expects international kiwifruit sales will hit at least NZ$4.5 billion.


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