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Michael Franks - Seeka

Heavy rain may lead to early stop to avocado exports, kiwifruit should escape major damage

Heavy rain has continued to hit New Zealand's North Island causing landslides, floods and infrastructure damage, a state of emergency was declared in Auckland at the weekend and four people have lost their lives so far.
As the focus of the storm moved south over the weekend a state of emergency was also declared in the Waitomo District, 220km south of Auckland.
The heavy rain has impacted the fresh produce industry with consumers being warned of shortages due to crops being washed away or flooded.
Michael Franks Chief Executive at Seeka said it will have an impact on avocado exports and possibly the kiwifruit harvest, which starts in March.

"The completion of the avocado harvest had been delayed as the orchards were too wet to safely continue harvesting meaning that the last of the fruit might end up being sold in the domestic market rather than exported. Its been a very tough year for avocado growers suffering lower than expected packouts and lower market returns."
New Zealand's main kiwifruit growing area, The Bay of Plenty also had a red weather warning issued on Monday.
"There has also been some flooding in Tauranga and Te Puke following a flash flood from the Raparapahoe stream which destroyed a key bridge servicing the upper Number 4 road growers. The local Council has responded quickly securing a temporary bridge to ensure that the more than $50m in fruit will be able to be harvest in a few months time.  We are due to start the kiwifruit harvest in March and some orchards are standing in water, the trees can cope with a bit of water as we have good draining soil here but we will need some good warm sunny days in lead up to harvest."
Despite the weather the kiwifruit is looking positive, sizes are good and Michael is hoping for a good season with the labour and capacity issues largely resolved.

For more information:
Michael Franks
Tel: +64 21 356 516    

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