Cameron Carter - Seeka Australia

"We will see a steady increase in volumes over each season ahead as more production comes online"

Seeka Australia are looking forward to a good kiwifruit season despite the very hot and dry conditions.

"We are delighted with the kiwifruit fruit set in Australia. The early view of the crop is good. The weather however is very hot, and dry and there is a long way to go to get to harvest. So we are cautiously managing the fruit numbers and irrigation to give ourselves the best chance of a good harvest," explained Cameron Carter, Sales Manager at Seeka Australia.

The volume of kiwifruit exported from Australia depends on the season. If to crop is light then Seeka export less, if it is a bumper crop then they will export more – somewhere between 30 and 50 containers mainly to the European market. In addition to current production Seeka has 63 hectares in development that may be 3 to 5 years from production.

At the moment it is only the green Hayward variety which is grown in Australia, but new varieties are in development.

A couple of years ago PSA was discovered on Seeka's Australian farm and is still present. "It is having little to no impact on the mature Hayward orchards, but is making the new developments more challenging. We have adapted our development processes to minimise the impact of PSA," said Cameron.

The Rico® pear was officially launched in 2018, after many years of trials. Seeka has been appointed by the master licensee APAL and the Rico® VMT team to market the variety.

"The product is a PVR variety, with a small number of growers in the club, some with special capabilities – like post harvest or marketing – with the limited volumes it makes sense to combine the volumes to a size where we can embark on export programs," according to Cameron.

Rico® is a cross between Corella and Doyenné du Comice, bred in Tatura, Victoria by the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources. 

"Branded and commercialised by APAL as ‘Rico®’, the pear has a fine texture with no grit, deep green colour and attractive blush, sweet juicy flavour and can be eaten firm or softened to appeal to a wide range of consumers.It also is proving to yield well in the orchard compared to traditional red blush pears."

Seeka currently has around 16 hectares in development in its own orchards, and approximately 10 hectares within other growers in the Rico® club. 

"We will see a steady increase in volumes over each season ahead as more production come online. Next year we are forecasting a volume of 73,000 cartons of Rico® pears, this represents a 25% increase in marketable volume from the 2019 season. Asia will be the main target market."


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