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Kiwifruit growers demand explanation over lack of pay

Grower organisation NZKGI, representing NZ kiwifruit growers, has asked Zespri for an explanation after growers were told they wouldn't receive progress payments next month. It has to do with the fact that last week, Zespri chief executive Dan Mathieson told growers that fruit quality issues were worse than previously thought, leading to less revenues from overseas markets.

Due to these problems, Zespri planned to downgrade its payments to green kiwifruit growers - likely by more than 60c per tray for Green and 50c for Green Organic growers, although that was still subject to finalisation. NZKGI said the Zespri announcement was very surprising. Chief executive Colin Bond said fruit loss for last season's fruit is now at 20 percent, up from the 7 percent previously forecast, an increase of 186 percent.

"Repacking is also up 300 percent - as are quality claims - on 2022, furthermore, our important Japan market has been undersupplied by more than a million trays and has experienced poorer fruit quality than forecast. The situation is unacceptable."

According to Bond, growers are suffering heavily and the latest blow is untenable.


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