New Zealand Picker Freshmax

The value of New Zealand apple and pear exports hit a new high over the 2019/20 campaign.

At its annual general meeting in Hastings today (5 August),peak industry body New Zealand Apples and Pears (NZAPI) reported total export returns for the season reached NZ$870m (US$577m), reflecting a NZ$500m increase over the last eight years.

The gross volume of the 2019/20 crop reached 566,200 tonnes, similar to the previous year. Export volumes rose 5 per cent year-on-year to 395,000 tonnes.

“With export earnings at this level, and despite the impact of Covid-19, with the right regulatory and policy settings in place to support industry confidence and growth, the apple and pear industry is well placed to reach its NZ$1bn target by 2022 and NZ$2bn by 2030,” said NZAPI chief executive Alan Pollard.

Looking to the next year, Pollard said the focus would be on how the pipfruit sector could help New Zealand to rebuild and recover post-Covid.

“NZAPI is playing a crucial role in that recovery strategy, working collaboratively with government and across the horticulture sector to identify opportunities domestically and overseas,” he explained.

“This will lead to growth and innovation across horticulture, increased sustainable job opportunities for New Zealanders, and a shot in the arm for provinces at a time when they really need it.”

Around the boardroom table, NZAPI welcomed Peter Landon-Lane as a board director, taking over from Bruce Beaton, who stepped down in November 2019.

Landon-Lane is the technical and innovation director of T&G Global and has previously held senior management roles with Plant & Food Research and Fonterra.

NZAPI’s independent chairman, Richard Punter, said the board would draw on its knowledge and experience across the supply chain to shape the industry moving forward.

“This will be important as the organisation and industry seeks to take advantage of the opportunities that a post-Covid 19 world will bring.”