NZ: Most cherry growers reporting a full crop

Things seem to be looking good for New Zealand cherries this year, with most growers reporting a full crop.

Andy McGrath, of McGrath Nurseries, who grow over 90% of the country's cherry trees, says this may mean as much as 1500 tonnes worth of exports. He does issue a cautionary note, however.

"New Zealand is weather tender though, so there is still time for this to go wrong."

If the weather holds, however, and Andy's prediction proves correct this will put things back to normal, which in New Zealand's case means growth. In the early 1990s only around 130 tonnes were being shipped, but with sustained growth this has now reached in the region 1200 tonnes per annum.

"This will continue to be the case," Andy says, "as there are more and more plantings of better varieties. Within a few years this could even be as high as 3600 tonnes."

85% of New Zealand cherry exports are destined for Asian markets. "Taiwan is the most important of these," says Andy, "followed by Thailand, S. Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Europe and the Pacific Islands."

There is competition, however, Australia and Chile both enter the international market place around 2-3 weeks prior to New Zealand.

"We have an advantage over Chile, as we are closer to the Asia markets, so their fruit can lost some freshness in the journey.

"There is some very good fruit coming out of Tasmania, and obviously that's closer to our export markets, but we can compete in terms of quality."

For more information:
Andy McGrath
McGrath Nurseries

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