The New Zealand kiwifruit harvest is about to begin and grower and post harvest company Seeka have been harvesting kiwiberry for a few weeks now and are on the home straight now with one orchard to go. The company's kiwifruit harvest is expected to start this Sunday in Northland at Kerikeri.
"Seeka is New Zealand’s largest kiwifruit grower. Our growing operations or supplying orchards come from all the major growing regions, Northland, Coromandel, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Eastern Bay of Plenty, Poverty Bay and Hawkes Bay," explains CEO Michael Franks.
Franks said he believes the SunGold maturity is 7 to 10 days advanced with Hayward about the same as last year.
"The pollination period was a little wetter than ideal. And in the last 2 summers, there has been drought. This year while it has been dry, there has been more rain which has helped the fruit to keep growing and achieve a bigger size profile."
Around 40% of the 36m trays Seeka expects to handle will be grown by Seeka. Of this 36m trays, 17.5m will be gold and 17m Hayward. With 1m trays of organic. These volumes are up on last year's 31.7m trays.
Seeka also grows a red variety - SeekaRed which according to Franks is doing very well, this marketed in Australia.
New Zealand is struggling with labour supply as the current travel restrictions have severely limited access for seasonal workers and the amount of backpackers going to the to the country.
"The labour situation is tight. Costs are up and the costs of sourcing the complement of overseas workers imported to New Zealand under the RSE scheme is very higher. The costs are over $6k per worker. Seeka expects to have around 460 RSE workers in its complement of 3500 seasonal people.