After the 2017 harvest failed to live up to initial expectations, New Zealand apple exporters are relishing the prospect of a full crop to market this year.
A wet winter, followed by favourable conditions during flowering has made for a solid fruit set. With a dry, warm summer and plenty of new plantings coming on stream, growers and suppliers are confident of delivering their best crop for several years.
“Skin finish is very good and we are starting to see good colour development on early varieties,” Greg Cross of New Zealand apple exporter Freshco told Asiafruit. “With new plantings coming on we are anticipating a good increase in volume.”
Fruit maturity is tracking ahead of last season, with sales programmes set to get underway in early February.
Exporters don’t expect to encounter a backlog of Northern Hemisphere fruit in key export markets, following a challenging North American growing season, which saw late harvesting and cold snaps affect volumes.
Europe also suffered large crop losses with wide-spread hail damage across France and Italy.
“We can expect New Zealand to enter the market as supply of premium sizes and varieties are finishing in the North Hemisphere,” T&G Global’s Darren Drury explained.
“Therefore, we anticipate retailers being ready to switch supply into fresh new season New Zealand crop.”