Tuesday, 06 June 2023 11:55

A hard year for kiwifruit growers

Written by  Peter Burke
Zespri's recent financial results show that global revenue from fruit sales for the 2022/23 season were down 3% on the previous season. Zespri's recent financial results show that global revenue from fruit sales for the 2022/23 season were down 3% on the previous season.

No surprises, it's been a bad year for the kiwifruit sector with the final numbers recently released by Zespri.

These show that total global revenue from fruit sales for 2022/23 was $3.92 billion – down 3% on the record result in the previous season. Global sales volumes were also down, from 201.5 million trays to 183.5 million trays.

Zespri say that the value of kiwifruit lost because of quality issues in 2022/23 was $534 million – well up from the $307 million in the previous season. To top it off, increased costs also reduced grower returns with the return per tray for Zespri Green in 22/23 $5.78, compared to $6.35 the previous year, while returns for Sun- Gold were $9.97, down from $11.51 in 21/22.

Zespri chief executive Dan Mathieson says the results are indicative of what’s been a very difficult period for many primary industries, with growers facing challenges relating to the labour shortage, the ongoing impacts of Covid-19, the climate and rising costs.

“This was one of our toughestever seasons and the industry worked incredibly hard to deliver our fruit to market, despite facing an extraordinary number of challenges, including a significant labour shortage.”

Mathieson says the results illustrate the importance of the industry’s efforts to improve quality, which remains a key driver in delivering stronger returns in future years.

He says this is a challenging period for growers, particularly Green growers, given the fact there will also be lower volumes of fruit in the 2023/24 season.

“While conditions remain challenging, the first shipments of the 2023/24 season have been well received by our customers, indicating initiatives from the industry’s Quality Action Plan are helping reduce quality costs and keeping poorer quality fruit onshore,” he says.

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