Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has urged growers to pay people better.
The rural land investment company’s chief executive Andrew Watters says at least 60 New Zealanders have invested $10.5 million in the development.
But he told Rural News they are still raising the last capital for the Central Cherry Orchard Limited partnership so an investment opportunity remains.
“We are planting the first of our cherry trees in 2019 and expect them to be in full production in 2027. However we will get about one-third of a crop by 2023-24,” he says.
“It is a long time but the product, which is large (30mm) tasty cherries should be superb and in high demand.”
Development will begin on the bare land block in the Waikerikeri Valley, north of Alexandra, this autumn.
NZ export cherries are recognised for their exceptionally high quality and freshness.
This season it’s estimated 1.9 million 2kg boxes of cherries will be picked and airfreighted fresh to China and elsewhere in Asia to arrive in time for Chinese new year on February 5.
Watters says the Central Otago development, launched in late November, is the first cherry investment offer by MyFarm.
“Investment prospects for the NZ horticultural sector are particularly strong right now. The world wants our high quality, healthy produce and cherries’ time has come with that. We are witnessing a significant increase in export demand that this venture is going to help meet,” says Watters.