Seeka has commenced its 2018 export programme for Australian-grown green kiwifruit.
The first consignment was loaded at the company’s packhouse in Bunbartha on Wednesday afternoon (11 April), with the fruit expected to arrive with its customers by the end of the month.
Seeka expects to pick and pack around 1m trays of kiwifruit at its Bunbartha orchards this season. Roughly 25 per cent of the crop will be exported, with both green and gold fruit to be sent to customers in Asia, the UK and Europe.
The export component of Seeka’s Australian business is expected to significantly grow over coming seasons.
“Prior to Seeka’s purchase, the operation here in Bunbartha was heavily focused on supplying the domestic market,” Seeka Australia’s sales manager, Cameron Carter, told Asiafruit.
“A lot of the potential we see here is in growing our current and prospective business in international markets.”
After acquiring the orchard business and assets of Bunbartha Fruit Packers in 2015, Seeka has set about putting its own stamp on the 500ha operation, based near Shepparton in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley.
This has included the expansion of the site’s main packhouse and cold storage facility, along with the removal of some stonefruit crops grown across the multiple orchards that make up the property.
While still a major production base for pears, particularly the Nashi varieties, kiwifruit appears to be at the forefront of Seeka’s future plans for Bunbartha.
The NZX-listed company has invested in redeveloping many of the site’s established Hayward blocks, along with new greenfield developments and has even set up its own nursery to grow kiwifruit rootstock.
In a bid firmly aimed at fulfilling international demand, Seeka is also moving forward with its Seeka Gold kiwifruit variety, with the company set to harvest a small commercial crop for the first time this year.
“Almost all of the new development is focused on kiwifruit, with the majority of this geared towards gold,” Carter said. “We are also investing in organic [kiwifruit] production, for both green and gold.”
Read more about Seeka’s growing Australian business in the Winter edition of Produce Plus.