Record-breaking kiwifruit exports expected to bring big returns

Kiwifruit growers are celebrating a bumper season as the industry exports its largest-ever crop.

Kiwifruit marketer Zespri it is on track to reach its record-breaking $4.5 billion sales goal by the end of this season – that’s up from $2.9b in 2021-22.

This season yields have been good and the industry will export its largest-ever crop of 197 million trays.

Green kiwifruit growers are expecting record returns per hectare, which will be welcome news after a tough couple of years when many growers struggled to break even.

Forecast returns for green are between $80,000 and $91,000 per hectare.

The more lucrative Sungold variety returns will not be at record levels but is still forecast to reach between $143,000 and $161,000.

After a tough growing season last year, it was great to see per hectare returns rebound on the back of much better on-orchard yield, Zespri chief executive Dan Mathieson said.

“It’s an encouraging forecast, however, there are still some challenges in this season’s smaller fruit profile and unfavourable foreign exchange movements from the Japanese Yen,” he said.

New Zealand’s largest kiwifruit grower and packhouse operator, Seeka, was seeing a positive outlook for growers.

“Last year per tray returns were very very high but the yields were down because of the weather, the storms and frost, and this year growers have put together a complete crop,” Seeka chief executive Michael Franks said.

“Volumes are up and we’re now looking to Zespri to sell that for as close to the value as they got last year. There will be some headwinds but if the returns are as they look on the forecast we will be very happy.”

Eventually, the better returns would flow through to the whole economy, Franks said.

“There’s a lot more money flowing through the system to growers because of the increased crop.

“Of course, it hasn’t come yet so actually there’s still a lot of stress at the moment and the economy around growers … because the money will come later in the year.

“So they’re actually now spending a lot of money pruning their orchards and getting themselves set for the next growing season. But when the money comes, there’ll be a lot of relief,” Franks said.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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