Zespri predicts bumper kiwifruit exports this season

Zespri predicts bumper kiwifruit exports this season

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This season’s kiwifruit crop is looking great, with Zespri set to export much higher volumes than last season.

The marketing company is expecting to ship around 193 million trays of kiwifruit – a significant lift on the 133 million shipped last season.

Zespri chief executive Dan Mathieson had been out chatting with growers ahead of harvest and said the fruit quality was looking great.

“Yields are getting back to what we saw in 2021. The gold variety is likely to average about 14,000 trays a hectare, while green [kiwifruit] will average 10,000 trays a hectare, which is fantastic.”

Mathieson said the bigger crop – alongside better forecast pricing – should help growers make stronger profits this season.

Forecasts for this season are $9 a tray for for green kiwifruit; that compares to last season’s final orchard gate return (OGR) of $5.78 a tray.

While SunGold Kiwifruit returns are at $12.35 – well above last season’s final OGR of $9.97 – Mathieson admitted fruit quality issues in 2022 dented the confidence of some buyers.

But Zespri had been reassuring customers the issues have been fixed – so demand for this season was looking strong.

“The Northern Hemisphere kiwifruit has moved relatively quickly and they’ve also had pretty low volumes, so we’re going into a very empty market – which is great.

“What we need now is good-quality early fruit to get the season underway, and I think we’re going to meet very strong demand.”

He said managing the increased volume of fruit throughout the supply chain and delivering consistently good quality fruit was the key consideration in the industry’s season planning process.

“We’re trying to make sure we’re striking the right balance of having a good source of early-season fruit to capitalise on early-season sales opportunities, and having fruit that stores well so that we can have a consistent flow of fruit through the season and minimise late-season quality issues.”

After a tough couple of years, there was a lot of excitement about the year ahead and Zespri was well prepared as the harvest started in the coming weeks, Mathieson said.

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