Commercial director Tom Lane from Miniature apple grower Rockit has stated that the company is aiming to expand to the South Island. The company in effect wants sheep, beef and dairy farmers to plant apple orchards, and some have already signed up.
Rockit growers were concentrated on the upper east coast, leaving the company exposed to weather events in Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay. Parts of the South Island had stable weather conditions and good water supply.
“We see the South Island as a logical move, and we’ll be looking to scale relatively quickly to around 150ha over the coming years,” Lane said. Fully mature fruit coming from the South Island was likely to be slightly smaller than the miniature apples harvested in Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne, he added.
Rockit expected to export more than 76 million apples this year, with a forecast of up to 160 million apples in 2023.