New Zealand’s horticultural exports are forecast to grow by 4.2% in 2018 with the continued expansion of the country’s kiwifruit production area and generally favourable weather conditions for pipfruit and wine production. New varieties are forecast to be an important driver of growth in the coming years. Such varieties, including gold kiwifruit and jazz and envy apples, have contributed greatly to the success of the sector. An increase in apple and pear production is expected in 2018, due to favourable growing conditions and young trees maturing. Avocados are now being shipped to China after years of negotiations regarding access conditions. China is the world’s fifth largest importer of avocados with rapid growth in the past five years. Kiwifruit exports are forecast to increase 4.5% to NZ$1.8 billion for the year ending June 2018. Production is set to expand with increased plantings of gold varieties expected over the next few years.
The picture isn’t entirely rosy however as there is a shortage of skilled labour across the industry. Moreover, apple and pear exporters will need to continue developing new varieties and expand into higher-paying markets in order to ensure continued export growth in future years.