NZ horticultural export value grows to NZ$5.5B

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NZ horticultural export value grows to NZ$5.5B

New Zealand horticultural exports grew significantly in value last year, with wine, kiwifruit and apples driving the increase to NZ$5.5bn from NZ$5.1bn the year before. 

According to the latest Fresh Facts, published annually by Plant & Food Research since 1999, horticultural exports tripled from NZ$1.7bn 20 years ago. They now accounted for almost 10% of New Zealand’s total merchandise exports. 

Kiwifruit and wine were the two main drivers for New Zealand’s horticultural success in 2018. Around a third of the export revenue is attributable to kiwifruit (NZ$1.86bn, up from NZ$1.66bn in 2017). Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit has proven popular in key export markets, now accounting for around 40% of the crop. 

Wine contributed to another 31% of total horticulture exports (NZ$1.69bn, up from NZ$1.66bn in 2017). Sauvignon blanc is still the main crop, but other wines, particularly Pinot noir, Chardonnay and Pinot gris, are also increasing in production.

The apple industry remained extremely competitive on the world stage. Apple exports rose to NZ$732.9m in 2018 from NZ$691m in 2017. New cultivars such as Jazz and Envy provided both diversification and increased value. 

In addition, with export values reaching NZ$115m (up from NZ$93.8m in 2017), the potato industry has seen a shift from fresh potato exports to processed potato products. Onions, peas and squash have remained integral parts of our horticultural export mix over the years.

New Zealand exported horticultural produce to 128 countries. The top five markets are Continental Europe, Australia, the U.S., China and Japan. Together they account for close to NZ$3.7bn and a little over two-thirds (68%) of the total exports. Exports to Asia recorded a significant jump of NZ$912m to NZ$2.068bn year-on-year.

"Extraordinary growth" for New Zealand horticulture

“Our industry is well diversified, and it continues to adapt to consumer and market needs to ensure New Zealand products remain in demand and sell at a premium overseas,” says David Hughes, CEO, Plant & Food Research.

“Part of the premium derives from our innovative and sustainable global reputation. We look forward to helping all our sectors realise their potential and deliver a smart green future for New Zealand.”

Mike Chapman, chief executive of Horticulture New Zealand, says: “We are delighted to witness the extraordinary growth of our industry over the last 20 years. We’re committed to creating an enduring environment where the industry can continue to prosper and achieve our common goal.”

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