A later start to harvest and projections of a lighter overall crop have done little to dash the hopes of New Zealand’s kiwifruit industry.
Growers began picking small volumes of fruit in the Northland and Poverty Bay regions last week, while the harvest in the Bay of Plenty, where around 80 per cent of New Zealand’s kiwifruit is grown, is expected to ramp-up over the coming week.
Production of the (G3) SunGold variety is expected to be significantly up on the volume harvested last year, while forecasts suggest the green Hayward crop will be smaller year-on-year. Although the total volume of kiwifruit produced is expected to be slightly down on last season, New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers chairperson Doug Brown said it was still shaping up to be a good harvest.
“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,” Brown explained.
Over 2,500 growers will be tending to some 12,000ha of kiwifruit orchards over the course of the season.
Around 10,000 permanent workers are employed in the kiwifruit industry, with an additional 8,000 seasonal workers hired to help pick and pack the national crop.