MATURITY STANDARDS REQUIRED
The New Zealand navel orange industry is largely made up of around 100 small growers who between them produce an annual crop of 900012,000 tonnes of fruit, three quarters of which come from the Gisborne region.
Because of the number of small, independent producers, many of whom don’t rely on the crop for their primary income, the quality of the fruit produced varies.
Many are seeing returns only sufficient to cover their expenses and under this pressure some are harvesting too early, putting fruit to market before it is sweet enough to earn consumer loyalty. Nick Pollock believes more work should be done on ensuring fruit maturity standards. And he said growers need to work together to get sufficient control of supply to make an impact on lifting quality and co-ordinating volume through the supply chain.