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Good Conditions for Start of 2006 Harvest

MEDIA RELEASE
Thursday March 30, 2006

Good Conditions for Start of 2006 Harvest

The first kiwifruit of the 2006 season is off the vines and will soon be on its way to Japan. The New Zealand Kiwifruit industry is preparing for another outstanding crop this season, with harvesting already well underway in Gisborne, Opotiki, Northland and parts of the Western Bay of Plenty.

The first Japan-bound vessel will depart early next week, arriving in time for that country's Golden Week celebrations. The first two vessels to Europe are anticipated to depart around April 17 for a mid-May arrival.

Picking on the first Western Bay of Plenty orchards is underway, including Matakana Island, Matapihi and Welcome Bay.

Based on the March 2006 crop estimate, volumes of ZESPRI GREEN are predicted to be marginally less than last year's record volume, at around 62 million trays.

ZESPRI GOLD volume is predicted to be more than three million trays up on last season, with a projected increase to around 18 million trays.

It is anticipated that ZESPRI GREEN ORGANIC volume will be down marginally to around 2.3 million trays.

"Favourable summer weather and great growing conditions means we are harvesting earlier than last year, in other words it will be a 'normal' season," said ZESPRI Chief Executive Tim Goodacre, who will be in Japan in early April for the start of the New Zealand Kiwifruit selling season.

"Everything is looking positive for this to be a good season. The canopies are in top condition and the fruit itself is impressive. "Our focus is now on getting top quality fruit into the marketplace and achieving a strong season start to provide the platform we need for a successful season," Mr Goodacre said.

ENDS

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