Zespri has hosted the first of its technical tour groups for the 2018 season, with a contingent of 20 Italian growers finishing up their six-day tour of New Zealand this week.
The delegates have visited Zespri’s head office, local orchards and packhousess, along with kiwifruit-related businesses like compost manufacturers and pollen providers. This includes visits to regions further afield, where growing conditions are often more similar than those in the Bay of Plenty.
“The recent Italian group have been interested to see and discuss soil and vine management with growers in Gisborne (East Coast of New Zealand) as soil and climatic condition are more similar there to their own environment than the Bay of Plenty, where most New Zealand Zespri Kiwifruit is grown,” said Zespri global production manager Shane Max.
Zespri’s technical tours will bring 120 people from South Korea, Japan, China, France and Italy to New Zealand orchards this year.
Exlusively made up of Zespri-affiliated partners – growers, postharvest operators and supply chain staff – the tours are tailored to meet the specific needs of each group, typically focusing on rapid orchard establishment, producing high quality fruit and optimising postharvest supply chains.
“They want to know how to grow better fruit and more of it and they want to meet the people who are doing it well here in New Zealand,” Max added.
“This kind of face-to-face, practical, on-the-ground technical advice helps our overseas growers produce plenty of top-quality fruit and ensures Zespri’s standards are maintained throughout the supply chain. It also exposes NZ growers to new ideas and different ways of doing things, creating a catalyst for new thinking and innovation.”
Max said this kind of knowledge exchange was vital to Zespri’s global success, ensuring year-round supply of high-quality kiwifruit internationally.
“It’s essential we keep Zespri fruit in front of overseas consumers for 12 months a year so they stay loyal to our brand.”