Fruit and veg­etable ex­ports star

The Orchardist - - >>Sonza -

Hor­ti­cul­ture ex­ports are fore­cast to rise by 13.1 per­cent in the year end­ing June 2019 to $6.1 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries’ Sit­u­a­tion and Out­look for New Zealand Agri­cul­ture (SONZA). Ki­wifruit ex­port rev­enue is fore­cast to rise 23 per­cent over this pe­riod, driven by a large ki­wifruit har­vest in March and April this year fol­low­ing a poor har­vest in 2017, and ris­ing ki­wifruit prices.

All other hor­ti­cul­tural prod­ucts are ex­pected to drive grow­ing ex­port rev­enue as well with growth of 8.0 per­cent ex­pected over the next year.

Ki­wifruit pro­duc­tion for the lat­est sea­son is es­ti­mated to be nearly 25 per­cent above the lowvol­ume crop of 2017. New Gold3 plant­ings are start­ing to pro­vide higher yields re­sult­ing in a 91 per­cent higher or­chardgate re­turn in 2017-18 com­pared with the rest of green va­ri­eties. This is likely to en­sure the con­tin­ued in­vest­ment in switch­ing from green to gold over the com­ing years as more Gold3 li­cences are re­leased.

Ki­wifruit ex­ports to China have in­creased by four times over the past five years with this coun­try buy­ing a higher pro­por­tion of gold ki­wifruit than other des­ti­na­tions. E-com­merce data shows NZ ki­wifruit gets bet­ter con­sumer rat­ings and bet­ter re­tail prices than ki­wifruit from other sources, for both green and gold. Gold ki­wifruit is the main driver of this growth, with in­creases in both vol­ume and prices but green va­ri­eties are still favoured in some mar­kets and will re­main a key part of the ki­wifruit pro­duc­tion mix.

Ap­ple and pear ex­port vol­umes for cal­en­dar year 2018 are ex­pected to ex­ceed the 20 mil­lion car­ton mile­stone or 360,000 tonnes, last achieved in 2004, with strong de­mand from Euro­pean and Asian mar­kets lift­ing ex­port prices com­pared with the pre­vi­ous year. Warm sum­mer tem­per­a­tures com­bined with ad­e­quate mois­ture helped lift fruit size but also re­sulted in some fruit firm­ness­re­lated is­sues, such as stem split­ting and stem punc­tures, for a few va­ri­eties.

The to­tal planted area is fore­cast to reach 11,000 hectares by 2021.

Av­o­cado ex­port vol­ume for the year ended June 2018 were the low­est since 2013, fol­low­ing a low har­vest in 2017. The 2018 crop is ex­pected to be more than 50 per­cent larger, as ex­pected from their ir­reg­u­lar bearing pat­tern, with ex­port rev­enue for the year end­ing June 2019 fore­cast at $146 mil­lion,

up from $98m in 2018.

Av­o­cado ex­port prices re­spond to the vari­able crop vol­umes and in 2018 reached a record av­er­age price per tray of $41.50, a 35 per­cent in­crease over the price re­ceived in the pre­vi­ous year. As pro­duc­tion is fore­cast to re­turn to higher yields a lower price per tray is ex­pected.

Min­is­ter, Damien O’Connor, said since June it had re­vised its ex­port fore­cast up by $465m with ki­wifruit the biggest con­trib­u­tor. The ex­cep­tional growth in the ki­wifruit sec­tor fore­cast con­trasted strongly with the out­look in 2014, when the in­dus­try was bat­tling the ef­fects of the Psa dis­ease out­break, he said. Since that time ki­wifruit ex­ports have dou­bled to $1.9 bil­lion, sup­ported by the high-value Gold3 va­ri­ety.

Look­ing out to 2020 and be­yond, the tra­jec­tory of pri­mary sec­tor pro­duc­tion and ex­ports will de­pend on in­dus­try’s re­sponse to an evolv­ing op­er­at­ing en­vi­ron­ment, the re­port said. Is­sues will in­clude trade dis­rup­tion, shift­ing con­sumer pref­er­ences, in­creas­ing risk of pest in­cur­sion and an em­pha­sis on sus­tain­abil­ity – in­clud­ing mea­sures to min­imise New Zealand’s con­tri­bu­tion to cli­mate change and im­prove lo­cal en­vi­ron­men­tal out­comes. Growth will in­creas­ingly come from get­ting more value from ex­ist­ing as­sets and the de­vel­op­ment of new higher value prod­ucts, such as Gold3 ki­wifruit. Th­ese changes will in­crease the fo­cus to­ward re­defin­ing how the pri­mary in­dus­tries con­trib­ute to the NZ econ­omy by in­creas­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity through in­no­va­tion, and by adding more value by deep­en­ing links to cus­tomers and seek­ing new mar­kets.

“To make this tran­si­tion to­wards sus­tain­abil­ity, it is im­per­a­tive to learn how lead­ing farm­ers are per­form­ing and ex­tend­ing those lessons to oth­ers, lift­ing the level of the in­dus­try as a whole. This will re­quire a cul­ture of trust, ex­per­i­men­ta­tion, and shar­ing so that new in­no­va­tions can be adopted rapidly across sec­tors.”

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