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Renewed partnership to boost innovation in kiwifruit

Renewed partnership to boost innovation in kiwifruit

30 November 2017

Zespri welcomes the announcement by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment today that it will support a renewed partnership with Zespri to develop new kiwifruit products and breeding technologies.

Under the partnership, MBIE will invest $6.7 million together with Zespri’s contribution of $15.7 million over the next seven years. The partnership aims to develop at least one novel fresh fruit product type by 2030 and could increase New Zealand export revenue by $200 million a year by 2045.

Zespri General Manager for Innovation Carol Ward says the partnership builds on an incredible track record of value creation with MBIE and Plant & Food Research. This includes the development of the SunGold cultivar which in 2016/17 alone returned an export value of $686 million.

“Zespri is delighted with the government’s decision to renew its support for the world’s leading kiwifruit breeding programme. Our partnership has an outstanding track record in developing new kiwifruit products that consumers love and that create value for our industry and for the broader economy.

“This extension will apply world-class science with Plant & Food Research to develop new and novel kiwifruit varieties. Through this focus on innovation, we have the potential to generate more value for growers and consumers, while supporting jobs and incomes for families in regional economies.”

“Kiwifruit is a major contributor to the national economy, and this investment recognises the value of research in ensuring the industry’s future success,” says Dr Bruce Campbell, COO of Plant & Food Research. “Our partnership with Zespri has supported the industry’s substantial growth over the past two decades, as well as seen us successfully navigate unknown territory, including the outbreak of Psa in 2010. This investment will allow us to continue developing new products targeted to our key markets that will enhance New Zealand’s reputation for premium food exports.”

ENDS

Background
o Zespri and Plant & Food Research established the world’s largest and most research and development programme into new kiwifruit varieties in 2009, with support from the New Zealand government.
o The seven-year programme involved investment of $35.7 million, supporting cutting edge plant breeding, screening and evaluation technologies.
o According to a report from the University of Waikato, kiwifruit’s contribution to New Zealand GDP is set to increase from $2.6 billion in 2015/16 to $6.14 billion in 2030, driven by the new cultivar SunGold.
o The breeding programme has over 100,000 seedlings. Successful development of a new cultivar with the right consumer appeal and on-orchard characteristics can typically take up to 10 years.

For more information, contact Zespri Communications Manager Oliver Broad on oliver.broad@zespri.com or 027 509 1839.

About Zespri Group Ltd
With sales revenues of $2.26 billion in 2016/17, Zespri is one of the world’s most successful horticulture marketing companies and the Zespri brand is recognised as the world leader in premium quality kiwifruit. Based in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, we are 100 percent owned by current or past kiwifruit growers, and employ approximately 450 people in New Zealand, Asia, Europe and the Americas. On behalf of our 2,500 growers in New Zealand and 1,200 growers based elsewhere, Zespri manages kiwifruit innovation and supply management, distribution management and marketing of Zespri Green, Zespri SunGold, Zespri Organic, Zespri Gold and Zespri Sweet Green Kiwifruit.

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