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NZ dollar cuts higher returns for kiwifruit

17 December 2003

New Zealand dollar cuts higher returns for kiwifruit

Kiwifruit grower returns jumped 27 percent per tray last year and early season estimates indicate that orchard gate returns will rise again in the year ending March 2004, according to the latest MAF Situation and Outlook for New Zealand Agriculture and Forestry report.

However, the 2003 SONZAF report says that the rises in the value of the New Zealand dollar have whittled away much of the overall gain in prices on export markets.

The report says that over-all kiwifruit production fell in the year ended March 2003 because of bad weather conditions. But it says production recovered in the current season and is expected to continue to rise slightly over the next three to four years.

New Zealand kiwifruit is exported to around 40 countries and it continues to achieve premium prices over kiwifruit from other countries, owing to its consistent supply and quality, good relationship between the industry and buyers and successful promotion of the ZESPRI brand.

The volume of kiwifruit exported to New Zealand's key market, Japan, jumped from 14 percent of total exports in 2001/02 to nearly 20 percent in 2002/03.

Together, Japan and Europe have generated around 75 percent of kiwifruit export earnings over the past three years while Korea and Taiwan have been emerging as important countries in the growing east Asian market.

The volume of gold kiwifruit grew last year to 14 percent of the total - up from nine the previous year, while organic kiwifruit remained the single most important organic product exported from New Zealand.

In the long term, the big increase in production from countries such as China could have a significant influence on the world market. China is expected to be the world's largest kiwifruit grower by 2006.

Other key influences in the long term will be the increasing power of the retail chains along with income growth in purchasing countries and consumer tastes and perceptions.

Ends

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