Zespri sees opportunity to “reset” NZ kiwifruit industry

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Zespri sees opportunity to “reset” NZ kiwifruit industry

With the 2023 harvest of New Zealand kiwifruit underway since mid-February, marketer Zespri estimates the crop is around 10% down on 2022.

Carol Ward, Zespri’s Chief Grower, Industry, and Sustainability Officer, told FreshFruitPortal via email, “This is a result of adverse weather conditions, a late 2022 frost, and variable budbreak.”

Last year, New Zealand exported 160 million trays of kiwifruit to overseas markets. 

Cyclone Gabrielle, which hit the country right before the first crop was picked, passed through every kiwifruit-producing region.

"Around 70% of the producing area in Hawke’s Bay and 25% in Gisborne has suffered moderate-to-significant damage, with these regions responsible for around 1.5% and 4% of our total industry production,” said Ward.

Additionally, flooding prior to the cyclone, caused by one of the wettest summers in the country, had already put pressure on growers. 

“There has been an incredible effort from across the growing community to support impacted growers and we are continuing to work closely with New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (NZKGI) to provide support,” said Ward. 

The industry was already dealing last year with low returns due to poor-quality fruit. However, Ward indicated that they see this upcoming season as an opportunity to revert this situation. 

“The lower volumes we’re expecting this season provide an opportunity to reset as an industry in a way that allows us to deliver consistently high-quality fruit to our customers and consumers, including when we have more volume in the years ahead,” she said. 

Zespri’s promise to its customers is to provide the best quality fruit possible. Earlier this year, they announced a five-year plan to confront fruit quality issues

“Our focus remains to ensure we have a really good harvest over the coming months so that we can provide consistently good quality Zespri Kiwifruit to meet the growing demand from our global consumers,” said Ward.

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