New Zealand has retained its mantle as the world’s most competitive apple performer, as judged by the World Apple Report.
For the third consecutive year the report ranked the Oceanic nation above 32 other major apple producing countries, ahead of Chile and the US.
Pipfruit New Zealand chief executive Alan Pollard said the industry had worked hard to retain an edge on its competitors.
“The apple industry has doubled exports in the last four years so our provinces are prospering from this success. We are growing hundreds of full time jobs across the sector in all areas including production, post-harvest, logistics, marketing and exports,” Pollard explained.
Continuing to foster growth within the sector will be a key theme at Pipfruit New Zealand’s annual two-day conference, beginning in Napier today (2 August).
Sir Ray Avery will speak about disruptive thinking, Dr Andre de Barros Teixeira will discuss innovation, technology, R&D and marketing and Dame Diane Robertson will address the impact of big data on consumers and markets.
“Although the outlook is bright we are focusing our conference this year on challenging and disrupting industry thinking about what the future may hold,” Pollard adds.
“We must not get complacent. We need to continually keep improving and stay ahead of our competitors as the NZ apple industry is transforming into a NZ$1bn export business.”
Pollard said the New Zealand pipfruit sector remained on track to reach its goal of generating NZ$1bn in export returns by 2022.
“We expect to see over 1m apple trees planted in New Zealand this year and nurseries have three-year back orders as growers work to meet a growing international demand for New Zealand apples.”