Friday, 07 June 2024 09:58

Kiwifruit growers produce record breaking crop

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
A record 193 million trays have been submitted, according to New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc. A record 193 million trays have been submitted, according to New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc.

It’s official – the 2024 kiwifruit harvest is New Zealand’s largest ever crop having been picked.

With only small volumes left to be picked off orchards, a record 193 million trays have been submitted, according to New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc.  On average, each tray has around 30 pieces of kiwifruit. Last year only 133m trays were exported.

The record crop is partially attributable to ideal weather prior and during the harvest on many orchards. This, combined with sufficient labour supply, has meant that kiwifruit has been picked off the vines in an orderly manner over the last three months.

The 2024 crop comes in stark contrast to 2023’s meagre yield which left disappointed growers under par. Poor pollination, wind, flooding, hail and cyclones reduced the crop size and only 133 million trays were exported.

Growers will now be carefully watching the large volume of this years’ fruit as it heads to overseas markets over the coming months to ensure that its quality is upheld and good prices are achieved.

 NZKGI chief executive Colin Bond says that the success experienced over harvest is a result of great teamwork across the supply chain to ensure great tasting kiwifruit reaches our consumers.

“I would like to thank the thousands of pickers and packers as well as the countless other workers who have rolled up their sleeves over the last year and worked diligently to create a successful harvest for our industry. The fruits of their labour have a flow-on effect to the wider communities who also profit from our success.”

Growers now eagerly await the prices that Zespri can attract in overseas markets for their fruit. Despite gaining strong per tray returns over the last two years, poor yield has hurt growers financially. The low orchard yields, combined with increasing orchard costs, has meant that many growers are under the pump to keep their businesses afloat.

The quality of the kiwifruit will be tracked by NZKGI as it heads to overseas markets. The industry has worked collaboratively to resolve fruit quality issues and the expectation that they should now be largely resolved will become apparent towards the end of this year.

2024’s record production of over 193 million trays is followed by 184 million trays in 2021 and 175 million trays in 2022. New Zealand supply is forecast to increase to 208 million trays by 2028.

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