No end in sight to labour shortage in New Zealand’s fruit sector

Thu 25/11/2021 by Richard Wilkinson
Apples in bags at the market. Copyright: Ixmatex Wu/Flickr.

New Zealand’s 2021/22 apple harvest looks set to suffer the very same problems that beset production in 2020/21, especially labour shortages at harvest time. This is expected to constrain production increases, with the 2021/22 production forecast at 578,000 tons. Although this is 5% up on the 2020/21 crop, primarily because of expanded harvested area, it still remains substantially below the record crop harvested in 2019/20, according to USDA data. Exports are also forecast to increase to 380,000 (+7%), but this would still be below the levels reached pre-Covid-19.

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