Last year very dry growing conditions in both Australia and New Zealand made conditions very challenging for Australasian company Seeka. The Hayward kiwifruit [green] yields were well down on expectation due to the drought conditions. The SunGold variety was less affected by the drought as it grows much faster in the spring before the summer dry spell after Christmas. New Zealand and Australia has had much of the same growing conditions again in 2020, but Seeka is expecting around a 10% increase in volumes as the SunGold proportion increases.
Michael Franks, Seeka Chief Executive, outlined that, “Our growth in volume is coming from new developments and conversion and SunGold orchards coming into production, we are not too aggressive with our procurement as we just want to do a good job with the growers that we have.”
Seeka had a great avocado harvest last year and were happy with the quality, although export packouts were lower than normal. "Seeka’s focus on quality saw it continue to outperform the market. Overall tonnages were up and there was good fruit volumes available for the domestic market. New export markets were opened including Thailand while we grew our export volumes to China and South Korea. Australia remained Seeka’s most important export market.”
The kiwiberry harvest has just been completed and according to Franks the volumes are fantastic, quality is exceptional and returns to growers will be very good. The kiwiberry harvest benefited from dry conditions and excellent quality.
Orchards and packhouses
“Seeka continued its strategy of selling the Northland kiwifruit orchards in New Zealand that were previously owned by T&G. The gains made on the realisation of these assets made up for some of the difficult growing conditions and have proved to be a good investment for the company. We also turned our Seeka Fresh business from being a loss maker to a making a profit which we are satisfied about. This business concentrating on the wholesale supply and retail services in New Zealand has had a dramatic turn around. Seeka Fresh is our wholesale business where we sell our avocados and kiwifruit and import and distribute bananas as well as a whole range of other crops, it’s a pretty competitive market in New Zealand and difficult to get into.”
Coronavirus and shipping
“There are all sorts of alarm bells going off about the coronavirus saying world trade will slow down. There are numerous issues in the export market in addition to those posed for New Zealand should we have an outbreak mid-harvest. The Company was well advanced in its planning and the industry is coming together to work out contingency plans to mitigate the effect of the pandemic. Thankfully we are dealing with a natural fruit, packed full of natural healthy vitamins, grown in a clean environment which should help the world as we face this challenge."