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Citrus-Growers Plan Huge Expansion

From the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology
For immediate release

CITRUS-GROWERS PLAN HUGE EXPANSION

New Zealand citrus growers are planning to boost output 20-fold by 2010, producing $50 million in annual exports and doubling their share of the domestic market to 80 percent. New Zealand Citrus Growers Inc product manager Ian Turk says the growers have made a sizeable investment in the rapidly expanding industry - particularly in mandarins and lemons. "This investment and growth has required us to look carefully at how we plan to create an effective industry to reap higher returns," he says. "Funded by citrus growers and investment from Technology New Zealand's TechLink Strategic Planning scheme, stakeholders got together to see where they were going, what the goals were, and what technology or skills were required to get there." The plan to produce $50 million in annual exports and supply 80 per cent of an expanded domestic market in New Zealand is viable and supported by statistical evidence of new plantings and growth in exports, Mr Turk says. The plan focuses on the long-range research and developments necessary to create an effective citrus industry. The industry is working towards meeting and exceeding food health, fashion and niche market requirements, and overseas and domestic quality controls, he says. "Citrus in 2010 intends to be the third-biggest fruit industry in New Zealand, with 50 percent of produce exported." Enough trees to support the forecast growth are already in the ground. Planning has shown that the citrus industry must boost research in plant make-up and breeding, pest control using minimum chemicals, advanced post-harvest handling and sea freighting. "We intend our citrus industry to be recognised world-wide as an efficient producer of high-quality, high-value citrus fruit that will result in increased returns across the value chain," Mr Turk says. He says Technology New Zealand's help was essential to the project. "Without that assistance the citrus industry would not have undertaken the research." Technology New Zealand invests in research into new products, processes or services as part of the Government's plan to fashion a knowledge-based economy. -ends-


Contact: * Ian Turk, product manager, Citrus Growers New Zealand Inc., Huddart Parker Building, Post Office Square, Wellington. Ph: (04) 472-4730. Fax: (04) 494-1989. Email: ian@pims.co.nz * Nigel Metge, Technology New Zealand at the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (Auckland Office), (09) 912-6730, or 021 454-095. Website: www.technz.co.nz

Prepared on behalf of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology by ID Communications. Contact: Ian Carson (04) 477-2525. Email: ian@idcomm.co.nz


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