The horticulture sector in New Zealand accounted for over NZ$5.1bn(US$3.7bn) in export revenue during FY2016/17, up 3 per cent year-on-year.
Over the next two financial years, according to a report from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), horticulture exports are expected to increase 4.2 and 3.5 per cent respectively.
Favourable weather conditions for pipfruit and wine production (which is included under horticulture) are forecast to drive the overall growth. Expansion of kiwifruit area is forecast to contribute to revenue growth of 4.5 per cent to NZ$1.8bn (US$1.3bn) for the year ending June 2018.
The previous and projected increase means that growers are eager to benefit.
“High horticulture returns are driving investments in productivity and competition for suitable land,” said Jarred Mair, MPI policy and trade acting deputy director general.
A newly ratified access deal for the export of avocados to China is also likely to impact positively on export volumes and value. China is the world’s fifth largest importer of avocados and with a rapidly growing economy, New Zealand is hoping to benefit from the new deal.
China currently makes up 24 per cent of export revenue for New Zealand, and is the fifth largest market for horticulture, taking 10 per cent of horticulture exports.