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Golden Fruit for Golden Week

Media Release

28 April 2004

Golden Fruit for Golden Week

ZESPRI is on track to deliver a strong, early start to the New Zealand kiwifruit season with the first ships already in Japan to discharge keenly awaited ZESPRI™ GOLD Kiwifruit which will be in the marketplace for Golden Week festival celebrations.

ZESPRI™ GREEN Kiwifruit sales have started in Japan but the real challenge is to get ZESPRI™ GOLD Kiwifruit into retail for Golden Week at the end of April when fruit is given traditionally as a gift to family, friends and business associates.

“We had a very successful ZESPRI™ season launch with our top 200 customers in Japan on April 6 and I can tell you that they hold our products in high regard and have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of GOLD and GREEN kiwifruit in the marketplace,” said ZESPRI CEO Tim Goodacre.

Vessels are also on the water to Europe where ZESPRI is currently selling some Chilean fruit to strategic customers in Spain and Benelux who want year-round supply and service prior to the arrival of the first ZESPRI™ New Zealand volumes in early May. The ZESPRI™ New Zealand Kiwifruit selling season will also start about the same time for Korea, Taiwan, North America, Southeast Asia and Australasia.

Meanwhile in New Zealand near perfect weather conditions have seen the harvest progress quickly and smoothly with volumes submitted and shipped well ahead of the same time last year.

The warm, sunny days and chill nights have been pushing up the dry matter to produce very good eating quality fruit.

Latest crop estimates indicate that the GREEN crop will come in just under 60 million trays, GOLD will be up to around 14 million trays and ORGANIC volumes steady at 2.5 million trays.

“We’ve got big and beautiful tasting fruit this year by all accounts. Good weather which has accelerated the fruit sweetening on the vine and magnificent team work among growers, post harvest operator and ZESPRI has meant that that we will achieve the clean, early start we need,” said Tim. “Our priority is to get the pipeline filled to meet the early demand and we really appreciate the efforts that are being made by the industry to get the volumes into the system.

“The season is going to be challenging because we do have a lot of fruit to sell and have set high targets on the pricing levels we expect markets to achieve to drive growth in Orchard Gate Returns. But, we are off to a good start and will be driving the momentum with early promotions in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Europe for ZESPRI™ GOLD and GREEN Kiwifruit,” Mr Goodcare said.

“The impact of foreign exchange movements will still be a dampener on seasonal returns, but it’s swings and roundabouts and I am not going to speculate, particularly when the situation is so dynamic. We’ll be managing the situation on a daily basis to try and mitigate the negatives and putting our effort into securing the best possible return from a high volume, high quality crop that meets customer and consumer desires.”

ZESPRI will publish its first seasonal returns forecast in August.

ENDS

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