Kiwifruit’s contribution to the New Zealand GDP will increase from NZ$2.6bn in 2015/16 to NZ$6.14bn in 2030, with the sector expected to create an additional 29,000 New Zealand jobs over this period.
That’s the hypothesis of a new report from the University of Waikato, launched in New Zealand’s Federal Parliament last night (27 June).
The report suggests the GDP growth will be propelled by the new Gold3 cultivar (marketed as SunGold), with researchers claiming the New Zealand industry would be less than half the size of these 2030 projections without the variety’s development.
SunGold is a product of Zespri and Plant & Food Research’s joint kiwifruit breeding programme, which receives significant backing from the New Zealand government.
Zespri’s general manager of innovation, Carol Ward, said Zespri commissioned the report to better understand the scale of industry growth that lay ahead.
“The New Zealand kiwifruit industry has a goal of increasing kiwifruit consumption around the world and is on track to more than double global sales to NZ$4.5bn by 2025, driven by this great new kiwifruit variety, Zespri SunGold,” Ward explained.
“We are grateful for the support of the New Zealand government over the past seven years through the MBIE Research Partnership Scheme, which has resulted in Zespri SunGold. Last season (2016/17) 46m trays of Zespri SunGold were sold with an export value of NZ$686m, up 70 per cent from the previous year.”
Waikato University professor Frank Scrimgeour said the report quantifies the contribution the kiwifruit industry and the new cultivar breeding programme make to the economies of the Bay of Plenty, Northland and New Zealand as a whole.
“The regional growth projections are very strong: in Bay of Plenty, kiwifruit accounts for 10,762 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs now and an additional 14,329 jobs by 2030, along with a 135 per cent increase of GDP contribution to NZ$2.04bn,” Scrimgeour said.
“Northland is set to increase by 506 jobs over the same period, with contribution to GDP set to increase 135 per cent to NZ$72m.”
In another positive step for the industry, Maori grower revenue is predicted to increase from NZ$271m to NZ$638m per year by 2030, while Maori wages and salary in the Bay of Plenty are set to double from NZ$22.1m to NZ$52m.