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New Zealand’s diverse climatic conditions allow the production of a wide range of fruit crops. Kiwifruit, apples and avocados are the main crops grown and production is export focussed. Other fruit crops such as berryfruit, citrus and summerfruit are grown mainly to supply the domestic market or for processing, with variable export volumes.
Fresh fruit exports generally supply northern hemisphere markets in their off-season providing around $1.5 billion in export returns to New Zealand each year. Processed fruit products, such as apple juice, frozen fruit and jams, provide export returns of over $100 million each year.
Kiwifruit seeds first arrived in New Zealand in 1904, brought back from China by Miss Isabel Fraser. Vines were grown and new kiwifruit varieties were developed by New Zealand orchardists. In 1928 Hayward Wright produced the Hayward (green) cultivar, now planted all around the world.
Today, New Zealand’s 2,700 kiwifruit growers produce approximately 110 million trays or 400,000 tonnes of kiwifruit (93 percent exported) from 13,000 hectares of orchard canopy area, split between green (80 percent) and gold (20 percent) kiwifruit. Approximately 80 percent of the canopy area is located in the Bay of Plenty.
Zespri Group (formerly the New Zealand Kiwifruit Marketing Board) is owned by kiwifruit growers and is responsible for marketing almost all the export kiwifruit from New Zealand to over 60 countries. Europe and Japan have been the main export markets for the last two decades, with Taiwan, China and South-East Asia growing significantly in recent years.
The New Zealand Kiwifruit Board was established in April 2000, to monitor and enforce Zespri Group's compliance with the regulatory measures set out in the Kiwifruit Export Regulations 1999. The board also decides whether to approve other exporters who wish to export kiwifruit in collaboration with Zespri Group.
New Zealand kiwifruit exports have grown significantly over the past decade from less than half a billion dollars based on green kiwifruit to over one billon dollars in 2010, coming from a 70:30 split between green and gold kiwifruit varieties.
Growth of the New Zealand kiwifruit industry is being stalled by the incursion of the bacterial, vine-killing disease Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae (termed Psa). The disease was first identified in an orchard in the Te Puke District in the Bay of Plenty in November 2010. It has since spread to kiwifruit orchards all over the North Island and has been found on over 60 percent of orchards. The Hort16A gold cultivar is particularly susceptible to the disease. Further information on the impact of Psa on kiwifruit orchards and export volumes is provided in the MPI publications referred to below.
In December 2012, the New Zealand Government declared Psa-V a medium-level biosecurity event for the North Island under the Primary Sector Recovery Policy. This provides a support package to enable growers and their communities recover from the impact of Psa.
The main areas of research in the kiwifruit sector include the breeding of new kiwifruit varieties, Psa mitigation, and the ongoing development of sustainable production practices.
MPI conducts an annual assessment of the kiwifruit sector’s performance and forecasts those trends most likely to affect the sector in the medium term. This assessment is published in Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries (SOPI) reports.
MPI’s farm monitoring programme models the production and financial status of a typical kiwifruit orchard in the Bay of Plenty region. The Horticulture Monitoring Report for Kiwifruit also discusses sector trends and issues.
MPI’s Sustainable Farming Fund supports farmer, grower and forester-led projects across New Zealand. A number of these projects focus on extension and applied research in the kiwifruit sector. Project information and resources are available on the SFF Project Page.
The main organisations representing the New Zealand kiwifruit sector include:
New Zealand has grown and exported apples for over 100 years, exporting to more than 70 countries worldwide. Europe is the main destination for New Zealand apples and pears but exports to Asia and the Middle East are increasing. The world apple industry is very competitive. New Zealand accounts for less than 1 per cent of world-wide apple production and approximately 5 percent of global apple trade.
In 2001 New Zealand deregulated apple and pear exports as requested by apple and pear growers. Currently anyone can export apples and pears; previously ENZA, (formerly the New Zealand Apple and Pear Marketing Board) was responsible for marketing almost all pipfruit.
Hawke’s Bay and Nelson are the main growing regions, with around 60 and 30 percent respectively of the national planted area of almost 10,000 hectares. Over 90 percent of the planted area is in apples; the rest is in pears.
Around 400 growers produce fruit for the domestic and export markets with small amounts going into apple preparations and juice. The industry has consolidated in recent years with over 50 percent of the planted area either owned or managed by vertically integrated pipfruit businesses.
Annual export volumes have settled into a band between 265,000 and 320,000 tonnes with export earnings ranging from $375 million to $425 million. The variety mix is moving away from the mainstay commodity varieties of Braeburn and Royal Gala towards new and more marketable varieties such as the Pacific series, Fuji, JazzTM, EnvyTM and Pink Lady®.
The main areas of research in the pipfruit sector include the breeding of new apple and pear varieties (www.prevar.co.nz/) and the ongoing development of sustainable production practices. Maintaining access to existing overseas markets and gaining access to new markets is a high priority for the sector.
MPI conducts an annual assessment of the pipfruit sector’s performance and forecasts those trends most likely to affect the sector in the medium term. This assessment is published in Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries (SOPI) reports.
MPI’s farm monitoring programme models the production and financial status of a typical pipfruit orchard in the Hawke’s Bay and Nelson regions. The Horticulture Monitoring Report for Pipfruit also discusses sector trends and issues.
MPI’s Sustainable Farming Fund supports farmer, grower and forester-led projects across New Zealand. A number of these projects focus on extension and applied research in the pipfruit sector. Project information and resources are available on the SFF Project Page.
The main organisations representing the New Zealand pipfruit sector include: