New Zealand’s kiwi producers expect far smaller 2023 crop

Wed 24/05/2023 by Richard Wilkinson

New Zealand’s kiwifruit producers are estimating far lower volumes this year, although quality is expected to be high. This is the result of difficult weather conditions during the 2023 growing season. Zespri forecasts exports of around 136m trays of Green, SunGold and RubyRed kiwifruit to more than 50 countries, down 21% from the 171m trays supplied in 2022. The volume could be even lower as these estimates were made prior to April hail in Te Puke.

Zespri CEO Dan Mathieson said: “Like many others in the primary industries around the world, kiwifruit growers have faced a particularly tough time this growing season, including many weather-related challenges. As a result, we have a limited supply of kiwifruit for our customers this season, particularly Green kiwifruit where we’re expecting one of the lowest volumes in the past 20 years, with around 42m trays available which is down from around 61m trays in 2022.”

Mathieson noted that while the lower volumes are disappointing, it provides an opportunity for the industry to focus on lifting fruit quality this season and prepare for increased volumes in 2024.

“There’s been a huge effort across the industry and our supply chain to do everything possible to lift quality this season, including making sure we had a really good quality harvest, and that’s been supported by the initiatives that have been established as part of the industry’s Quality Action Plan,” he said.”

Early feedback from key markets has been positive: “We’ve already seen that in our Asian markets and now again over the weekend in Europe where our first shipment of fruit has been distributed to meet the strong demand we’re seeing from local consumers,” said Mathieson.

With more than half this season’s fruit harvested, planning for next season was already underway to manage a much larger forecast crop in 2024. “From a supply perspective, we’re expecting significantly more volume in 2024 as growers rebound from this season’s weather-related reduced yields and more of our licenced SunGold Kiwifruit hectares come into maturity. This growth is expected to continue in the years ahead, with our New Zealand supply alone forecast to reach almost 230m trays in 2027/28. Our Northern Hemisphere supply locations are also forecast to more than double from this year’s 25m trays by 2027/28.”


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