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Record Number Of Independent Apple Exports

A record number of apples have been approved for export by independent suppliers, Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Last season, the first that apples could be exported by companies other than ENZA, 1.8 million cartons were sent overseas.

Mr Sutton said that the Apple and Pear Export Permits Committee was only half-way through determining permit approvals now, but already a record number had been approved.

As at November 30, 62 applications for export permits had been received from 21 applicants, and 34 export permits had been approved, representing 2.45 million cartons.

The committee is still receiving applications.

Mr Sutton said this indicated some prospect of intense competition for the supply of apples among exporters.

Industry estimates suggested there would be about 17 million cartons available this season. ENZA has indicated it wanted at least 15.5 million of them, but with the independent export approvals running at 2.5 million and possibly higher, there could be a shortage, Mr Sutton said.

"That competition can only be good for prices and orchardists' incomes," he said.

Mr Sutton said he sympathised deeply with the plight of growers following several seasons of inadequate returns. But he cautioned that at the end of the day it was not New Zealand's regulatory regime that determined prices, it was supply and demand in key overseas markets.

Ends

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