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2005 Kiwifruit Season About To Kick Off

15 March 2005

2005 Kiwifruit Season About To Kick Off

With the first kiwifruit of the 2005 season due to be picked next week, ZESPRI is forecasting a crop size similar to last year’s record volume.

ZESPRI Chief Executive, Tim Goodacre said he expected 60 million trays of GREEN (the same as last season) and 14.5 million trays of GOLD (down from 15.2 million last season).

“There is an underlying demand for quality and I am pleased to say that this season’s crop is looking good, however it is set to be a challenging season for growers, impacted by the continued strength of the New Zealand dollar (NZD) and significant increases in freight costs,” said Mr Goodacre.

At this stage the potential impact could be around 60 cents per tray for GREEN and more than $1 per tray for GOLD. These numbers could change depending on where the NZD moves over the coming months.

The global demand for shipping currently exceeds supply of vessels and has seen an increase in freight prices.

“Our objective is to mitigate the impact of those factors and aim to achieve the same Orchard Gate Returns (OGR) for growers as last season ($4.31 per tray for GREEN, $5.75 per tray for ORGANIC and $5.42 per tray for GOLD).”

ZESPRI will continue to reduce costs where it can and focus on extracting the highest returns from its best performing markets. The forecast volume means ZESPRI can supply to new customers in Europe, Japan, Korea and China, and continue to build on the strong growth in those markets.

“Our objective is to protect the grower return from excessive volatility, but at the end of the day the strong NZD continues to hit ZESPRI as an exporter very hard, “ said Mr Goodacre.

“Despite the issues facing the industry at this time, our key focus remains growing and delivering a high quality, high taste crop,” he said.

Taste remains a key focus for the industry with research showing how significantly the consumer taste experience influences repeat purchase. ZESPRI is looking to accurately and fairly reward those growers who produce good tasting fruit.

“Supplying the best tasting, best quality fruit is our platform, it’s what the markets want and we must deliver on that.”

Mr Goodacre said the recent ZESPRI roadshows indicate a strong acceptance from growers of what ZESPRI is doing. “Everything we do is for growers. ZESPRI was established by growers for growers.”

Kiwifruit continues to be a major driver of growth in the Bay of Plenty, accounting directly for $1.5 billion or 19 percent of the regional economy’s GDP.

The first two vessels for the 2005 season will begin loading in Gisborne and will leave from Port of Tauranga in the first week of April, bound for Japan. The first vessel for Europe is expected to leave towards the end of April.

ENDS


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