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Fruitnet.com Staff

BY FRUITNET.COM STAFF

Monday 16th February 2009, 20:25 Hong Kong

New Zealand apples weather storm

The start of the New Zealand apple export season so far seems to be holding up against difficult market forces

New Zealand apples weather storm

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New Zealand’s apple crop is being described by some in the industry as the highest quality in 15 years, with peak industry body Pipfruit New Zealand estimating yields will hit 284,000 tonnes this year.

According to initial reports, despite big apple crops in the US and Europe and tightening belts in New Zealand’s main export markets, sales and prices have remained at a good level.

New Zealand apples face competition this year in Europe from a bumper crop of local fruit. But while the total volume of apples may be significantly up over last year, New Zealand’s own brace of varieties will yet find a niche in the European market, according to Campbell Naish of Turners & Growers.

“There’s a big supply of European apples. It’s gone up a few million cases from last season, but that’s an overall figure, and it’s due to non-New Zealand varieties,” Mr Naish says.

Prospects in the US also appear to have nimbly dodged any major complications – while the Washington apple industry has yielded a record-breaking harvest that has dragged apple prices down across the board, imported fruit from New Zealand has retained its premium price point.

While the Washington apple crop may not have presented a hurdle for New Zealand exports in Washington itself, it is feared it may cause problems further down the track in Asian markets.

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