Per-hectare returns for Zespri’s New Zealand-grown SunGold crop surged by almost 40 per cent year-on-year over the 2016/17 campaign, however, returns for green kiwifruit dipped slightly.
Speaking at the single-desk marketer’s annual general meeting in Tauranga today, Zespri chairman Peter McBride painted a picture of prosperity for the gold category over the financial year ending 31 March (2017).
“A particular highlight was the performance of SunGold which saw a sharp increase in both volume and per-tray returns – up 39 per cent to NZ$98,838 per-hectare (compared to 2015/16) and 5 per cent per tray to NZ$8.64,” McBride explained.
High yields and a late start to the New Zealand season saw per-tray returns for Zespri Green fall to NZ$4.36, down from NZ$5.13 in 2015/16, while per-hectare returns fell 5.5 per cent to NZ$53,555.
Per-tray returns for Zespri-branded organic green kiwifruit fell 4.4 per cent to NZ$6.86, while returns for Green 14 (Sweet Green) came in at NZ$5.79 per-tray, more than NZ$1.20 lower than the previous year.
Zespri’s 2016/17 global sales were up 19 per cent from the previous season, reaching NZ$2.26bn on the back of exceptionally high yields.
The performance was boosted by an increased output from Zespri’s Global Supply Programme, made up of Northern Hemisphere production in Italy, France, South Korea and Japan.
“Volumes in this business (Global Supply) grew from 14.5m trays to 16.6m trays for the reported season, with sales in this business growing from $183.6m in 2015/16 to $215.6m in the reported period with contributing operating profit growing from NZ$10.4m to NZ$11.9m,” McBride noted.
“A highlight was the strong gold growth of 46 per cent from the previous season (from 3.6m trays in 2015/16 to 5.3m trays) and the extra 1,800ha of SunGold licence to be allocated in Europe over the next five years will see European volumes quadruple over the next five years.”
With over 500 grower-shareholders attending today’s meeting, McBride took the opportunity to outline details about an upcoming special general meeting, planned for March next year. During the meeting, Zespri will seek shareholder approval for constitutional changes to align shareholding more closely with production, following recently announced changes to the Kiwifruit Export Regulations.
The 2016/17 reults cover the performance of New Zealand kiwifruit sold in the 2016 season, where sales ran from April to November, followed by the Northern Hemisphere season, where fruit was sold from October to March.