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NZ: Top fruit production expected to decline in 2014

Exports of apples from New Zealand are forecast to drop next year this is due to a biennial 'bearing off' on the 2014 crop. Harvest is forecast at 531,000 metric tons, with 305,000 going for export.

Growers are currently experiencing a great 2013 harvest season. Apple shipments are expected to hit 320,000 metric tons which is 13 percent ahead of the year before. The volume of apples being sent to the EU has also increased, 90,659 metric tons to date, in comparison with 75,256 metric tons for the entire season.

Exports are not only doing well in Europe, but the Asian market, such as China and Hong Kong has gained momentum with a volume increase of 37 percent (21,084 metric tons) along with a price increase of 22 percent.

There is confidence in the sector at the moment with growers enjoying possibly the most profitable year for over a decade. Free-on-board (FOB) prices are running at 20% above 2012. Good yields and costs not materially greater than the previous year should see growers bank most of the price gain as profit

Pipfruit New Zealand announced in August 2013 a billion dollar vision for improving the deciduous fruit industry, and a new strategy to get there. A top priority of their eight point plan is increasing the effectiveness at improving terms of market access. PNZI estimates that ultimately 75 percent of its funding is spent on market access in one way or another.

Planted Area
Anecdotal comments are suggesting the planted area going in to the 2014 harvest will not be significantly different to the previous year at 8,372 hectares of apples and 448 ha of pears.

Pipfruit New Zealand Incorporated (PNZI), the industry’s representative body, has not released an updated planting survey for the 2013/2014 growing season yet.

It has been reported that orders at the apple tree nurseries are up significantly
which is pointing to a lift in orchard planting over the next one to three years over and above the current replanting levels. There is some confidence in the sector at the moment. The sector has had a profitable year in 2013 and most growers, packers, and exporters can see a sustainable future now if they can provide the right product into Asia and the Middle East.

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