The kiwifruit industry welcomes more Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers for next season but must still work hard to attract the rest of the required workforce.
Dave Courtney, the chief grower and alliance officer, says Zespri and the kiwifruit industry are in a strong period of supply growth and are working hard to meet growing consumer demand.
He told Hort News that to help achieve this, Zespri’s board has confirmed the latest releases; the expansion will occur in all growing regions from Kerikeri to Nelson.
Courtney says Zespri’s supply growth allows it to serve more consumers and to sustain good value across the supply chain from grower to consumer.
“Growers will have also recently seen our latest December forecasts, outlining forecast average orchard gate returns (OGR),” he says.
“For Green we’re forecasting an average OGR of $5.42/tray and average return of $63,786/ha. This is down 5c and $341/ha, respectively, on October forecasts, reflecting an upwards revision in offshore fruit loss and quality claim provision estimates.”
Courtney says the average Organic Green return is $8.68/tray and the average per hectare return $68,864, up slightly based on firmer pricing in key markets. Meanwhile, the average return for SunGold and Organic SunGold per tray has increased to $10.46/tray and $140,195/ha, reflecting reductions in promotion and freight costs and favourable foreign exchange movements.
Zespri Sweet Green is also up to $7.16/tray and $45,855/ha.
“In the year ahead [we expect to advance towards] our goal of increasing sales to $4.5 billion by 2025,” Courtney says.
Overall, Zespri has had another record season in sales volumes.
He says Zespri has been sustaining good value across the supply chain from grower to consumer, supplemented by excellent work on orchard and through post-harvest.
“We expect growth in demand to continue in our key markets in 2019, including in China as we begin expanding into tier 2 cities,” he says.
“To meet increasing consumer demand, we’ll keep working with our global partners so that we can provide Zespri-quality, non-NZ-grown kiwifruit to supplement our domestic production.”
Zespri aims to keep the brand top-of-mind among consumers for all 12 months of the year, and to enable consumers to buy premium, Zespri-quality fruit year-round including the months when NZ-grown fruit is unavailable.
He says while kiwifruit still represents a small proportion of the global fruit bowl, the Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit variety is performing strongly, helping attract more consumers to kiwifruit.