NZ: Record returns for green kiwi growers

Green kiwifruit growers are anticipating a record high return of $51,047 per hectare thanks to good quality fruit and decreased competition in the markets.

Zespri has announced forecast per tray returns of $5.71 for green fruit, up 37 cents, meaning orchard gate returns will break the $50,000 mark for the first time.

The $51,047 return is an average. Some growers will receive significantly more per hectare while others will receive less. “However, the good pay-out will help those who are still struggling with Psa,” adds Chairman of the Green Growers Group, Mike Smith.

The industry's current volumes of around 68-70 million trays of green fruit are about right, but well down from the 80 million of the past, Mike believes.

Simon Limmer, Zespri acting general manager of China operations, says reduced volumes of both gold and green New Zealand fruit in the market is among the reasons for the improved returns. There has also been less competition from Chilean fruit after growers there were hard hit by frosts. High fruit quality, taste and the promotion of the health benefits of green kiwifruit are other factors.

Returns are also up for gold fruit, with the forecast at $9.57 per tray compared to $9.36 predicted in August. Organic green growers should receive $6.81 per tray, up from $6.35 and for new variety Green 14, the returns are predicted to be $6.98, just up from $6.93.

Simon admits the big challenge for the industry now is coping with the predicted rapid increase in volumes of gold fruit as the new variety G3 comes on stream. “The rate of growth will be challenging,” he says. “The top end volumes are not the problem. It is the rate of change which could be up 10-15 million trays in one season.”

This will test the industry's ability to cope, while maintaining fruit quality and taste values.


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