CREDIT NZKGI TAGS New zealand kiwifruit growers picking labour production 2

New Zealand’s 2021 kiwifruit season is predicted to produce the industry’s largest-ever crop, overtaking the record 157m trays that were exported last year.

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers (NZKGI) released its forecast for the record-breaking yield for green and gold kiwifruit as the first pieces of fruit of the season were picked Gisborne at the start of March.

Nikki Johnson, chief executive of NZKGI, said the promising projection came despite a mixed lead up to the season for growers.

“This year has been devastating for a small number of growers whose crops in Motueka and other isolated areas who were hit by hail,” said Johnson.

“On the other hand, the season is shaping up to produce high-quality kiwifruit which means consumers can anticipate a great tasting product coming to supermarket shelves.”

Joining the record levels of green and gold fruit in 2020 will be increased volumes of Zespri Red, which is heading to China for the first time in 2021.

Carol Ward, chief grower, industry and sustainability officer of Zespri, said the wider kiwifruit industry’s ability to adapt and work closely together last season meant the industry was prepared to safely pick, pack and ship a record-breaking crop of fruit.

“Growers and the wider kiwifruit industry are working hard to make sure consumers across the world can enjoy fresh, healthy fruit like our kiwifruit once harvest begins,” said Ward.

“We’re encouraged by the strong demand we’re seeing for our fruit, and we’ll continue to closely monitor the Covid-19 environment and its impacts both in New Zealand and abroad as we begin shipping this year’s crop.”