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NZ apple exports shift to Asian market

New Zealand's biggest apple grower/packer/exporter Mr Apple, was part of the New Zealand stand at the recent China FVF in Beijing. Fresh Plaza spoke to Mark Pay, Export Sales Executive at the company about different challenges faced by apple exporters in today's market.

Mr Apple exports to 60 countries around the world, around 48% of total exports goes to the European market with the rest distributed to other world markets.

Mark Pay explains that exports to the EU are decreasing each year, "In the last nine years our new plantings have predominately been focused on the Asian markets. We will reach a natural equilibrium between the European and Asian markets, it is difficult to say exactly what that will be, however, our Asian exports will only increase in the next few years as the new trees mature."

Pay is not sure how next season will pan out, "The European market is full of domestic produce and I heard that France have put 38% more into storage than last year. This will certainly affect how strong demand is, but we are still optimistic, New Zealand apples have carved a good reputation in Europe for high quality and people still want fresh apples. It will be an interesting season, but I believe there will always be demand there for our apples."

New Zealand saw a voluntary stop on apple exports to the Chinese market last year when rot was found in a shipment and protocols had to be re-accessed, but according to Pay this was done very quickly with both governments working very closely to reach an agreement.

India is also an important market for Mr Apple and despite the high tariffs and relatively high cost of New Zealand apples they are very much in demand there.

"We also have high hopes for the future in Indonesia, there is a population of 240 million people right on our doorstep. The new President is very positive and forward thinking."

New Zealand still has access to the Russian market, however the whole Russian situation is unfortunate and we will have to wait and see how things progress there, but I hope it is resolved soon as this creates an imbalance in the apple world as Eastern European fruit finds its way into our traditional markets like Western Europe and the Middle East."

Mr Apple grow and pack 25% of New Zealand's apples, they own three packhouses in Hawkes Bay and also use others down in Nelson. The company exports the majority of the crop themselves, with exception of the Envy and Jazz varieties which are marketed by Enza.

For more information:
Mark Pay
Mr Apple
Email: [email protected]