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Zespri pushes to supply SunGold kiwi year round

Zespri is working towards a long term strategy of supplying fruit to its export market for 12 months of the year.

This would allow it to fulfil the demand for its SunGold (Gold3) kiwifruit in the market and strengthen its global brand.

Global production would be a significant income driver in the years ahead, chief executive Lain Jager said at the company's annual meeting at Mount Maunganui.

"Fulfilling demand necessitates the expansion of 12-month supply of SunGold.  Earlier this year, we announced plans to release another 1800ha of SunGold licence in Europe over the next three years.

"This will take our total SunGold production in Europe to 3720ha which we expect will produce around 40 million trays when fully mature."

Jager said that 12-month supply was critical for Zespri's ability to make the most of this growth. If they did not supply, their competitors would and their offshore production of Gold3 was significantly lagging behind demand.

"The challenge should rightly be about whether we should go faster with offshore supply rather than slower."

Chairman Peter McBride said Zespri was not quite positioned yet where it could fully meet year-round demand of its product.

"The 12-month business is quite different, the environment is different the knowledge needed to grow and supply kiwifruit is quite different so we are having to invest very heavily in orchard support, post-harvest support, whereas the New Zealand industry is very well configured for that growth."

Northern Hemisphere growers also had to meet the same or even tougher quality standards as New Zealand growers. Their product also had a slightly different taste, he said.

"We do experience seasonal differences, it's a little bit like a French wine compared to a New Zealand wine."

He said they aimed to build green returns towards $60,000 per hectare and optimise the growth and positioning of gold kiwifruit and continue to develop organic kiwifruit.

Publication date: 9/4/2017


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