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Kiwifruit harvest starts across New Zealand

MEDIA RELEASE

14 March 2017

Kiwifruit harvest starts across New Zealand

• First kiwifruit being picked in Northland and Poverty Bay

• Expectation of another season with strong volumes

There is increasing activity in New Zealand’s kiwifruit orchards as the picking and packing of kiwifruit gets underway. Small volumes have just started to be harvested in Northland and Poverty Bay and will extend throughout the North Island and top of the South Island over the coming weeks. Over 2,500 growers will be harvesting some 12,000 hectares of kiwifruit which will be marketed to over 50 countries.

Harvest is expected to begin in the next few days in the Bay of Plenty where around 80% of New Zealand’s kiwifruit are grown. The harvest of the SunGold variety for this season is expected to be significantly more than the harvest last year, while the green Hayward variety is forecasted to be less. Although the total volumes are slightly down from last season, it is still shaping up to be a good harvest.

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc. Chairperson Doug Brown says “New Zealand has some of the best growing conditions in the world for kiwifruit and we are looking forward to more good volumes. Many areas were affected by wet weather which has delayed the start of harvest, but most of us can now roll up our sleeves and get picking and packing. I would also like to take this opportunity to wish all growers a happy and safe harvest”.

Around 10,000 permanent workers are employed in the kiwifruit industry with an additional 8,000 seasonal workers who pick and pack kiwifruit. Of these seasonal workers, a small minority are Recognized Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers who play a crucial role as labour shortages are a real problem for the kiwifruit industry around the peak of harvest time.

The kiwifruit industry is recovering from being hit by Psa in 2010 and has been growing strongly with Zespri’s total sales returns for the 2015/16 season around $2 billion dollars. As New Zealand’s largest fresh fruit horticultural export, the kiwifruit industry also profits the regions where it is grown, for example, bringing around $910 million to the Bay of Plenty annually.

ENDS

About New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (NZKGI) works to advocate, protect and enhance the commercial and political interests of New Zealand kiwifruit growers. We represent kiwifruit growers, giving them their own voice in industry and government decision making.

Kiwifruit is by far New Zealand’s largest fresh horticultural export, with sales in 2016/17 expected to be around NZ$2 billion. This represents the value of almost half of all New Zealand’s horticulture exports. In 2016/17 over 2,500 growers sold over 130 million trays of kiwifruit to over 50 markets. The industry is experiencing strong growth which is expected to continue over the coming years.

Our headquarters in the Bay of Plenty, the geographic heart of the kiwifruit industry, is the central hub for the NZKGI Executive Committee, Forum members and staff.

More information about our portfolios of Industry Stability, Performance, Communications, Labour & Education, External Relations and Organisational Management can be found on our website: www.nzkgi.org.nz


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