Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The next season is looking brighter for kiwifruit growers with forecast prices at record levels thanks to better fruit quality and a bumper crop expected.
Last season quality issues caused Zespri to downgrade payments to green kiwifruit growers and many struggled to turn a profit on their crop.
But Zespri, which markets kiwifruit from 2,800 growers around the country, has just released its forecast for the upcoming season and things are looking brighter.
Green kiwifruit is a particular standout with forecast returns of $9 a tray – that compares to last season’s final orchard gate return (OGR) of $5.78 a tray.
Organic green is forecast at $12 a tray up on last seasons OGR of $8.68 while the newer RubyRed variety is forecast to bring in $26.10 a tray compared to last year’s final payment of $22.27.
Forecast SunGold Kiwifruit returns are at $12.35, well above last season’s final OGR of $9.97.
Zespri chief executive Dan Mathieson said the results reflect the strong and growing demand for Zespri Kiwifruit, as well as the huge effort the industry has put into improving fruit quality this year.
“We’ve received positive feedback from our customers throughout the season on the improvement in fruit quality – our efforts have been really appreciated by them – and they also keep telling us how they want even more of our Zespri Kiwifruit next season. It’s great to we have this confidence in our product and see this demand.
“It’s really pleasing to be able to deliver this positive news and to show growers that their hard work and focus on quality is being rewarded in market. It’s particularly great following such a tough couple of years when growers have been under so much pressure while dealing with the likes of ongoing cost increases, the labor shortage, regulatory changes and the changing climate.”
Mathieson said the job of improving fruit quality was not done yet and there will be a huge focus on next season.
“We need to maintain this focus as we look to 2024 when we are expecting to have a much larger crop and likely our biggest year-on-year growth in volume.
“As we have this year, it’s going to need everyone across the industry doing their part so we build on the positive changes we’ve made – as that’s crucial to returning more value back to growers. One thing our growers can have confidence is whatever fruit we can get to market in the right condition will sell and sell well.”