Zespri’s Northern Hemisphere harvest "will be the biggest yet"
Zespri’s kiwifruit harvest from the Northern Hemisphere is set to exceed previous sales volumes and deliver strong returns for growers, along with another great tasting crop for consumers around the world to enjoy.
Nick Kirton, Zespri’s Executive Officer – Northern Hemisphere Supply, says that the Northern Hemisphere sales program has just commenced and Zespri is expecting to sell around 26 million trays or almost 93,000 metric tons (MT) of kiwifruit from orchards throughout France, Italy, Greece, Korea, and Japan.
“This season’s harvest will be our biggest yet and we’re looking forward to providing consumers with more high-quality and great-tasting kiwifruit as we transition from New Zealand-grown fruit to our Northern Hemisphere-grown fruit,” says Kirton.
“The increase in volume also reflects the growth phase we are in as we continue to build supply to meet growing market demand.”
Across the Northern Hemisphere supply regions, Zespri has formed partnerships over more than 20 years with around 1,300 Zespri growers and suppliers who play a key role in Zespri’s global supply strategy which is working to supply premium Zespri Kiwifruit for all 12 months of the year.
This season’s Green sales volumes are expected to remain steady compared with last year, while Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit sales are projected to increase by 13 percent, reflecting increased yields, new production and progress with managing pest and disease issues.
Kirton notes that this season’s strong harvest was even more pleasing given the challenges faced by growers in both Europe and Asia this year.
“It’s been a tough season for some European growers this year, with spring frosts and late season hail impacting fruit production in some areas, and it’s been very wet in Asia where there remains the risk of typhoons before harvest is completed.
“To still be on track for record production reflects the hard work growers and those involved in the broader supply chain have been undertaking and we look forward to strengthening our partnerships in the years ahead.”
Kirton says the relationships Zespri has formed with growers and suppliers in Europe and Asia also allows Zespri to bring a global approach to help overcome threats posed by pests and disease.
“The Kiwifruit Vine Decline Syndrome (KVDS) Taskforce based in Italy is an excellent example of collaboration across the industry to address a key risk to growers not just in Italy, but globally.
“We’re pleased to see that good progress is being made on better understanding that issue and finding strategies to mitigate the impacts.”
As well as its work on KVDS, Zespri is also undertaking additional research in the Northern Hemisphere on Brown Marmorated Stink Bug and Psa, reflecting the need for the industry to remain vigilant to biosecurity threats. Research on areas such as water efficiency, nutrient use and soil health also contribute to Zespri’s global sustainability goals.
“As our Northern Hemisphere supply programme continues to grow, we look forward to continuing this important research, providing strong returns to the local industry, and making positive contributions to our growing communities,” says Kirton.