NZ expects one of smallest crops in two decades

Tue 22/08/2023 by Richard Wilkinson

This year’s kiwifruit crop in New Zealand is set to be one of the smallest in 20 years, although quality is expected to be high. Zespri forecasts that the challenging weather conditions during the 2023 growing season likely to reduce Zespri’s forecasts exports of around 136m trays of Green, SunGold and RubyRed kiwifruit to more than 50 countries, down 20.5% from the 171m trays in 2022, although the volume could be even lower as further adverse weather hit the country in late spring. Green varieties are the most hit, with Zespri’s output falling from around 61m trays in 2022 to around 42m trays this year, according to CEO Dan Mathieson.

But it’s not all bad news. Demand for red kiwifruit is soaring in Eastern Asia, with marketer Zespri seeing a tripling of exports of its RubyRed variety in its second commercial production season to around 330,000 trays, according to news outlet Stuff. Additional plantings could see production reach around 6.9m trays of the variety by 2027/28. The main destinations for the New Zealand-grown fruit are Japan, China, Singapore and Taiwan. The RubyRed variety is naturally smaller than other kiwifruit cultivars, but, even so, fruit size is still below average this season. The seemingly insatiable hunger for red kiwifruit has prompted Zespri to commence pre-commercial trials of a new red kiwifruit cultivar in New Zealand. 

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