Kiwifruit marketer Zespri and New Zealand-based fresh produce company Turners & Growers (T&G) are apparently closer to reaching consensus on proposals to establish a collaborative kiwifruit marketing agreement for certain export markets.
Although nothing has been agreed as yet, Eurofruit understands that the two parties are closer than ever before to establishing an agreed framework for such a deal to go ahead, subject to approval by regulator Kiwifruit New Zealand (KNZ).
If approved, the collaborative marketing agreement would see T&G granted an exemption from New Zealand's export marketing rules – under which all kiwifruit exported from the country except for a small number of countries including Australia must be marketed by Zespri – and given permission to sell and promote its own kiwifruit in certain export markets, believed to be in Asia.
During a special meeting at Fruit Logistica 2012 in Berlin, Germany, last week, Zespri chief executive Lain Jager met with T&G managing director Jeff Wesley to discuss the proposals in more detail.
Sources close to the two companies have hinted that a deal may be imminent, with agreement over the length of an initial trial period said to now be "far more likely".
Collaborative marketing negotiations between the two parties stalled in June last year after KNZ turned down T&G's application to export fruit beyond Australia.
T&G originally applied in late 2010 to export a range of kiwifruit varieties to unspecified markets for a period of five years with renewals for up to 20 years, conditions Zespri described as "unrealistic".