Mark and Catriona White dreams were realised after they decided 12 years ago to grow organic kiwifruit.
The first charter vessel carrying Zespri SunGold kiwifruit left at the weekend for China and Japan following this season’s early start to harvest.
The Southampton Star departed from Tauranga Harbour carrying 3,000 pallets of Bay of Plenty-grown SunGold kiwifruit bound for Shanghai and Kobe. The vessel had earlier berthed in Gisborne where it picked up 1,600 pallets of SunGold kiwifruit, marking the start of what promises to be another bumper crop.
Zespri chief grower and alliances officer David Courtney says in total, it expects more than 600,000 pallets of kiwifruit to be shipped offshore this season.
“This will mean we’ll have more than 18,000 containers to ship this season. We’re also expecting to use 45 charter vessels - three to move our kiwifruit to Northern Europe, twelve to service our Mediterranean markets and thirty to take fruit up to Japan, China and Korea.”
For the first time, Zespri is also expecting to supply more gold kiwifruit than green this season.
“Last season we supplied 76 million trays of Green and 65 million trays of SunGold. Our latest estimates indicate we are on track to supply more than 75 million trays of SunGold this season, while Green is expected to be below 75 million trays,” he says.
“Most of our growing regions have had a very dry summer which means we’re certainly expecting a great tasting fruit this season,” says Courtney.
Greater China and Japan remain Zespri’s two most significant markets and are expected to continue to perform strongly as Zespri expands into new areas within these markets.
Courtney says the shipment is helping Zespri move closer to its goal of increasing its global kiwifruit sales to $4.5 billion by 2025.