With shipments getting underway this weekend, New Zealand’s single desk kiwifruit marketer Zespri says export sales will “certainly exceed” NZ$2bn over the 2018/19 campaign.
Bound for China, the Klipper Stream will carry the new season’s first load of Zespri kiwifruit from the Port of Tauranga. Loading began this morning (29 March), with the ship scheduled to pass through the harbour entrance on Good Friday.
Zespri chief executive Dan Mathieson said sales to the company’s two largest markets, Japan and China, are forecast to grow strongly this season, with the marketer also looking for solid growth across the rest of Asia, Europe and North America.
“Demand for safe, healthy fruit continues to grow exponentially in China, in terms of both volume and value,” Mathieson explained.
“However, our Japanese market is going great guns as well – we’ve seen a 30 percent sales growth there over the past four years. So our two major markets are pretty much neck and neck and repeat purchasing is very strong from our consumers.”
In 2017, Zespri marketed 123m trays of New Zealand kiwifruit, with 102m of those trays coming from orchards in the Bay of Plenty. A further 14m trays of fruit were produced by Zespri’s overseas growers.
This year’s New Zealand-grown crop is forecast to be about 20m trays up on last year, which should translate to a growth in sales value.
“Zespri will announce the current season’s sales figures in May but sales will certainly exceed $2bn and are expected to grow in the 2018/19 season,” the company said in a statement.
New Zealand’s kiwifruit industry employs around 18,000 people, 8,000 of them full time. The country’s 2,500 kiwifruit growers collectively own about 13,500ha of orchard land.
“Kiwifruit is New Zealand’s largest horticultural export and this season is projected to be no different,” said New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers CEO Nikki Johnson.
“New Zealand growers can be proud to say they produce a world-leading fruit superior in quality and taste which will be marketed to over 50 countries.”