Wednesday, 10 April 2024 07:25

Positive start for kiwifruit

Written by  Peter Burke
Early season indications show that the returns per hectare for all varieties of kiwifruit will be up this year. Early season indications show that the returns per hectare for all varieties of kiwifruit will be up this year.

Zespri is forecasting better prices for NZ kiwifruit growers in the coming 2024/25 season.

It has just released what it calls its ‘preliminary price guidance’ for the season to give growers an idea of what their returns might look like in the new season. This guidance is then refined as more information becomes available as the season progresses – including on fruit performance measures like fruit quality.

This early indication shows that the returns per hectare for all varieties of kiwifruit will be up. In the case of Zespri Green the range for 2024/25 is $75,000 to $91,000 per hectare, as opposed to $64,930 last season. For Zespri SunGold the range is $145,000 to $166,000 – well up on last season’s $143,537. For the new RubyRed kiwifruit, the range for 2024/25 is $50,000 to $56,000 as opposed to $41,057 in the previous season.

Over the past couple of seasons, the kiwifruit sector has been through hard times caused by fruit quality issues and damage to crops caused by frosts and floods. However, yields are expected to be up this season and there are hopes of better times ahead.

Zespri chef executive Dan Mathieson says the sector is focused on starting the new season strongly – including incentivising growers to harvest their fruit as early as possible to get sales programmes underway. He says it’s important that with a big crop that the season starts strongly and delivers a good amount of early season fruit to customers so that we can capitalise on early sales opportunities.

“After a slightly slower than expected start to the season due to fruit maturity, harvest is starting to build with around 15 million trays submitted so far, and we’re expecting this to increase rapidly.”

Mathieson says Zespri is expecting strong growth across all kiwifruit varieties this season, with around 190 million trays of kiwifruit to be shipped to markets around the world.

“It’s been great to have many of our major retailers visit us in New Zealand in recent months, sharing the strong demand their consumers have for our fruit, and we’re looking forward to meeting that demand with more volume this season.

“That’s started already with our RubyRed Kiwifruit sales programmes underway in Japan. It’s a great way for us to start given the variety generates real excitement, particularly amongst our younger consumers, and given the fruit is only available for a limited time.” Mathieson adds that Zespri is ramping up its marketing activity now so that when NZ fruit arrives in market, they’ll be able to sell it quickly and capitalise on the strong demand.

“That’s started already with our RubyRed Kiwifruit sales programmes underway in Japan. It’s a great way for us to start given the variety generates real excitement, particularly amongst our younger consumers, and given the fruit is only available for a limited time.” Mathieson adds that Zespri is ramping up its marketing activity now so that when NZ fruit arrives in market, they’ll be able to sell it quickly and capitalise on the strong demand.

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