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NZ to develop tropical fruit demonstration farm in Gisborne

A move has begun to develop a tropical fruits demonstration farm in the Gisborne district with the initial focus on the potential for commercial banana production.

Northland-grown bananas have been at markets in Northland for some time and the rising interest in their production led to the formation of the Tropical Fruit Growers of New Zealand (TFGNZ) group.

That group has begun to explore and experiment with tropical fruit production in Northland with bananas as their first focus.

The group has offered their expertise to the Te Nahu whanau Tai Pukenga Trust based in Papatu Road at Manutuke. 

“Looking for diversification, the trust has researched the establishment of a tropical fruits demonstration farm on that land,” said trust programme manager Trevor Mills.

Mr Mills said growing bananas on a commercial basis provided a better shorter-term commercial return than other horticulture crops like citrus and grapes.

“The Northland banana growers are getting $5 a kilo for their fruit. They have sweetness and taste that imported bananas cannot provide. The total value of imported bananas consumed in New Zealand is now over $150 million a year.

“As a result of their research, the TFGNZ group reports a possible return of $20,000-$30,000 a hectare after about a 30-month period from planting to harvesting.”

Publication date: 9/11/2017


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