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Large apple stocks in the EU

As for the varieties, red apples gained in market share since the consumer prefers them.

The apple stocks as per 1st December in the European Union, reported by the World Apple Association, show a small decline of 1.4% in availability, though the 5.1 million tons of apples stored is still the second largest registered at that date. November sales were slow and the Russian embargo was hurting Polish exporters.
This year, it is more difficult to pass the Belarus borders and exporters are not taking any more risks of Russian customs agents destroying the produce.
In Italy there are also large quantities available of about 1.5 million tons, but they have the capacity to place the fruit over the season, although the war in Libya is hindering exports. Last year, the Far East markets looked promising, giving hope that the drop in oil prices may keep imports in the oil exporting countries on track.
The French stock was at 15% or 625,000 tons.
A good local market and exports to far away destinations will help to place this volume at a reasonable price.
As for the varieties, red apples gained in market share since the consumer prefers them. Big promotion programmes, free distribution and the school fruit scheme will be welcomed.
The competition in the export markets will not be hard, as US stocks of fresh market apples on 1st January were 1.2% lower than last year at the same time. The January total was similar to the five-year average of 90.7 million bushels, according to the January Market News report from the US Apple Association.


This article appeared on page 86 in the News section of edition 141, Jan/Feb 2016, of Eurofresh Distribution magazine. Read that issue online here.

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Better market access to India for EU apple exports

apple flick efd

As of late January, European producers can get their apples into the Indian market through the sea ports and airports in Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai and Cochin, as well as the airport in Delhi. The importation of apples is also allowed through India’s land borders, according to a statement by the European Commission.

It said that previously, all access points in India had been closed to apples imports since September 2015 with the exception of one port.

EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan welcomed the news, saying the improved access to the Indian market for EU apple exports “represents another positive step in finding alternative markets for EU producers, in light of the ongoing difficult market situation. Our efforts to break down any barriers to our agricultural exports and to open markets to our producers are ongoing, as part of the diplomatic offensive we are leading in 2016.”

Huge potential of Indian market

While EU exports of apples to India amounted to only about 7,000 tons in 2014, mainly from Italy, France and Belgium, provisional figures for 2015 show a considerable increase to around 11,000 tons.

The commission said India has the potential to absorb a higher share of EU exports given its moderate domestic apple production (around 1.5 million tons in 2013, similar to Italy).

Amid the Russian embargo on EU agri-food products, Poland reached an agreement with India with the first Polish apples entering the market in April 2015, and efforts by other European producers to seek alternative markets continue, “with the support of Member States and the European Commission,” it said.


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New markets, new campaign and year-round availability of Kanzi® 

Kanzi® concludes a successful European season - smooth transition to southern hemisphere harvest

One of the world’s leading apple brands Kanzi® recently launched its new media campaign. The new ‘Seduce Life’ campaign targets consumers through radio, television, online banners and supermarkets. It’s one chapter in the ambitious growth plans of this international top three apple brand. Key targets for the coming years are year-round availability, broadening the distribution platform and raising brand preference with consumers. 

Year-round availability 

One of the focus points Kanzi® is working on is year-round supply. Kanzi® is grown both in the Northern and the Southern Hemisphere. Growers are provided with special programs and production specialists are brought together to share knowledge and experience. 

Asia and the Middle-East

In its ten years of existence, Kanzi® gained its place on the shelves. Nowadays there are good opportunities to develop nice year-round programs with partners. Kanzi® is ambitious and is investing in new markets such as Asia and the Middle East. This process takes time. Volumes are reasonable and Kanzi® is prepared for growth. 


Kanzi® launched the 2015-16 season with a new consumer campaign reflecting the contemporary Kanzi® approach to today’s consumers: Kanzi® SEDUCE LIFE.
Seduce Life communicates the taste experience of Kanzi®. Seize life by enjoying an everyday moment of luxury, reaching the outgoing, modern and active consumer with a positive mind-set. Kanzi®  wants customers to know that its apples will give them the energy and spirit they need to be successful and happy. A balanced media mix combined with tastings in supermarkets, experiential marketing activities, promotions and on – and offline advertising will immerse the consumer in the new Kanzi® SEDUCE LIFE universe. 

Over the coming years, Kanzi® will focus on promotion, to create stronger brand awareness, and thereby raise brand preference with consumers. The advantage of Kanzi® is that it serves different segments of consumers. As the apple has a balanced sweet tart flavour and is crunchy, it attracts a large audience.

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US proposes ‘systems approach’ for apple, pear imports from EU

On January 20, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will publish a proposed rule allowing fresh apple and pear imports from 8 EU countries under a systems approach that includes appropriate pest risk mitigations.

Public comment is being sought on a proposed rule under which the US would allow fresh apples and pears into the continental US from 8 EU countries – Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Poland Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands.

The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) said the proposed new import requirements would replace the existing preclearance program with a systems approach that includes appropriate pest risk mitigation.

“The U.S. would only accept commercial shipments of fresh apple and pear fruit from these countries if the shipments are accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate, with additional declaration followed by port of entry inspection. The proposed risk mitigation measures for fresh apple and pear fruit consist of orchard and packing house certification, inspection of registered orchards twice a season, orchard pest control and sanitation, post-harvest safeguards, fruit culling, traceback, sampling, and cold treatment against Medfly in countries where the pest is known to occur.

The proposed rule is due to be published in the US Federal Register and be available for public comment as of Wednesday, January 20. The proposal can be read on the APHIS web site at:

Source: APHIS Seeks Comment on Proposed to Allow Fresh Apple and Pear Fruit to be Imported into the Continental U.S. from Eight EU Member Countries

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South Africa’s deciduous fruit supply

South Africa is the Southern Hemisphere’s fourth biggest apple producer and ranks second for pears.

With about 79,803 ha last year, deciduous fruit is the largest sub-sector for all land dedicated to fruit plantations in South Africa.

And of the country’s total area planted with deciduous fruit, grapes (fresh and dried), apples and pears together accounted for about 78%, reports the USDA’s Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN).

In an update on South African deciduous fruit supply and demand, it says South Africa is the Southern Hemisphere’s fourth biggest apple producer and ranks second for pears.

The Western Cape is the country’s largest and traditional producer of deciduous fruits, but in the past two decades the Northern and Eastern Cape, and Limpopo provinces have become increasingly large producers of deciduous fruit, GAIN says.

Forecasts from the South African post in the report include:

South African apple production is expected to increase by 2% to 865,000 tons in the 2016 marketing year (January to December), and exports to inch up 1% to 455,000 tons, based on the available production and the weak rand exchange rate.
Africa is now the leading export market for South Africa apples, taking nearly half of total exports, followed by the EU (26%), Asia (20%) and the Middle East (7%).
The top 5 export countries in 2014 were the UK (17%), Malaysia (11%), Nigeria (11%), Angola (4%) and the UAE (4%).

South African pear production is forecast to rise 3% to 410,000 tons in 2016 based on normal growing conditions and the minimal impact of the dry weather conditions on irrigation water availability.
Exports are set to fall 7% to 190,000 tons based on the difficult global pear market, and growth in the local processing market demand and prices.
The EU takes about 57% of the total exports followed by Asia (22%), the Middle East (14%), and Africa (7%).
The Netherlands is the biggest individual market, accounting for 27% of the export market followed by the UAE at 10%.

Table grapes
Another exceptional season is expected for table grape production, with a marginal rise on last season to 294,000 tons.
Exports are also expected to rise marginally, by 1% to 266,000 tons, based on the available production and continued strong demand due to the weak exchange rate.
The EU takes at least 75% of the table grapes exports.
“South Africa benefits from a shorter shipping distance than other Southern Hemisphere competitors, strong demand for seedless varieties, and a free trade agreement with the EU,” the report says, also noting that “exports to Asia (14%), the Middle East (6%) and Africa (4%) have strong growth potential.”

Domestic consumption
Domestic consumption of apples, pears and table grapes is forecast to remain flat in 2016 based on the available production and South Africa’s slow economic growth prospects.
South Africa is a net exporter of deciduous fruits, and only imports small quantities of apples, pears and grapes to fulfill a niche market or to satisfy domestic demand when supply is limited

South Africa flag image: Flag design by Frederick Brownell, image by Wikimedia Commons users [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Production up for China, the world’s top apple, pear & table grape grower

China is the world’s leading producer of apples, pears, and table grapes, and in MY 2015/16 expects apple production at 43 million tons, up 5% on the previous year, pear production up 6% to 19 million tons, and grape production up 9% to to 9.6 million tons.

China is the world’s leading producer of apples, pears, and table grapes, comprising roughly 55%, 77%, and 44% of total output respectively, and is expecting increased crops for each of these fruits in MY 2015/16, according to a recent USDA Gain report on fresh deciduous fruit in the country.

Chinese Fruit Production 2004-2014

source: Ministry of Agriculture


China’s apple production: The USDA post forecasts China’s apple production at 43 million tons in marketing year (MY) 2015/16 (July-June), up 5% from the revised production in MY 2014/15 underpinned by generally favourable weather. In the last decade, apple production has steadily increased but this growth is likely to moderate as less new acreage becomes available for apple production.

China’s apple imports: In May this year, the US and Chinese governments granted market access for each other’s apples, a move expected to boost apple imports from the United States. China’s apple imports are forecast to continue surging by nearly 50% to 100,000 tons in MY 2015/16 (July-June) after China granted market access for all varieties of the U.S.-origin apples.
In October 2014, China lifted an import suspension on Washington apples due to quarantine pest issues, as a result, the country’s apple imports nearly doubled in MY 2014/15. The US is China’s second largest apple supplier after Chile.

China’s apple exports: Increasing prices had been limiting China’s apple exports but in MY 2015/16, China’s apple exports are expected to rebound by 20% to 900,000 tons thanks to apples that are lower-priced and in greater supply. In MY 2014/15, exports had dropped by nearly 20% to 750,000 tons as domestic apple prices reached a record high and the buying power of what had been two main customers for Chinese apples, Russia and Indonesia, was limited by economic difficulties and local currency devaluations

Apple prices in China: Farm gate prices for Fuji apples have dropped by 25% to RMB 6.4 ($1.00) per kilo in Qixia of Shandong, a major apple producing area in China, compared with MY 2014/15. The high purchase prices during the MY 2014/15 harvest time effectively limited consumption and, as a result, fruit sales were reduced and prices began to decline in March 2015. In general, fruit prices were much lower in 2015 than the previous year due to the economic slowdown.


China’s pear production: Pear production is expected to increase by 6% to 19 million tons in MY 2015/16, up nearly 6% from the previous year because of favourable growing conditions in major production areas.

China’s pear imports:  China’s pear imports are forecast to increase by more than 20% to 12,000 tons in MY 2015/16. Pear imports are steadily increasing as consumers become more aware and acceptant of Western pears that are different from their Asian counterparts. Since gaining market access in 2013, the US has become China’s top pear supplier.

China’s pear exports: Thanks to increased supplies, China’s pear exports are tipped to rise 9% to 360,000 tons in MY 2015/16. The report said that while China’s export share to Indonesia, the leading buyer of Chinese pears, is declining, its other major markets in Asia remain quite stable and China is exploring new foreign markets.

Table grapes

Chinese table grape production: The forecast from the USDA’s post in China is for Chinese table grape production of 9.6 million tons in MY 2015/16 (June-May), up 9% on the year before thanks mainly to increased acreage. Grape acreage is expected to expand 5% to 800,000 ha in MY 2015/16.

China’s table grape imports: The post estimates 10% growth in China’s grape imports to 250,000 tons for MY 2015/16, due largely to increased imports during the local off-season. Chile is China’s top grape supplier and Peru has overtaken the US in the number two spot. China’s grape imports from Peru are likely to increase further as, under a Free Trade Agreement, the import tariff for Peruvian grapes will fall to zero this year.

China’s table grape exports: A 27% increase to 165,000 tons is the forecast China’s table grape exports in MY 2015/16. Grape exports to China’s neighbours in Asia are likely to enjoy a boost thanks to the drop in prices in China. In the wake of rapid production expansion, prices for most grape varieties have fallen considerably since MY 2014/15. For example, farm gate prices for Red Globe varieties in Shaanxi province were quoted at RMB 4.8 ($0.76) per kilo during the harvest, down 20% on the same period the previous year.

Chinese fruit consumption

Per capita daily fruit consumption in China is said to be 198 grams, compared to 303 grams in the US and 426 grams in Italy, suggesting there is room for much growth. However, such growth has been slowed in China by the current economic restructuring and much slower GDP growth there.
On the positive side, however, fruit prices have fallen since last year and consumption of imported fruit continues to rise at a fairly fast rate in large cities, “aided by the development of E-commerce which targets mainly the consumers with higher disposable income and young professionals. Shanghai, for example, imports between RMB 15 to 18 billion ($23.6 to 28.3 million) of fresh fruit each year, an annual increase of nearly 40%, according to customs data.”
Overall, the report says, China’s fruit consumption will continue to increase, aided by dietary changes.

Focus now on boosting quality, not production

Instead of focusing on the expansion of production, quality improvement is increasingly the aim of support for the fruit sector provided by the government, normally at provincial or county levels, the report says.
Demonstration farms are seen by the local agriculture departments as an effective way to showcase new production models and farming technology. In Shaanxi, for example, the provincial government is providing an annual subsidy of RMB 10 million ($1.6 million) to build high-density apple demonstration farms which will serve as the model for upgrading the existing apple orchards in the province.

source: GAIN Report Number CH15059, 2015 Fresh Deciduous Fruit Annual for China (People’s Republic of)

main image: “The People’s Republic of China (green) and its claimed territory (lighter green)” by Ssolbergj licensed under GFDL via Commons


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Strong apple, pear crops forecast for Czech Republic

Apples are among the most popular fruit consumed in the Czech Republic and are an important part of the Czech diet. However, the market for fresh apples in the Czech Republic has generally been declining due to stronger interest in new fruits, rising consumer purchasing power and a wider range of fruit choices in stores.

Despite an extremely hot and dry summer, the Czech apple and pear crops remain strong, estimated at 140,660 and 9,372 tons respectively, according to a USDA Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report.

However, due to the high age of fruit trees and lack of capital to renew orchards, the area for and number of fruit trees are declining, it says.

Harvested areas
MY2014: apples 8,721 ha, pears 704 ha
MY2015: apples 7,624 ha, pears 681 ha

Commercial production
Nevertheless, while last year Czech growers harvested 130,902 tons of apples and 3,758 tons of pears, this year commercial production should rise to 140,660 tons of apples and 9,372 tons of pears, based on figures from the Central Institute for Supervising and Testing in Agriculture, GAIN said.

Non-commercial production
Non-commercial production is thought to account for more than a third of total apple production and more than a quarter of pear production in the Czech Republic. That estimate is based on figures from the Czech Statistical Office’s annual report on production of selected crops, which includes household estimates, which places Czech apple production in 2014 (including non-commercial production) at 207,990 tons, and pear production at 12,351 tons.

Fresh Domestic Consumption
Apples are among the most popular fruit consumed in the Czech Republic and are an important part of the Czech diet. However, the market for fresh apples in the Czech Republic has generally been declining due to stronger interest in new fruits, rising consumer purchasing power and a wider range of fruit choices in stores. “Young people in the urban areas prefer new and exotic fruits such as kiwi, pineapple, kumquat, and passion fruit,” GAIN said.
Euromonitor lists the most popular locally-grown varieties as Golden Delicious, Idared, Jonagold, Gala, Discovery, Spartan, James Grieve, and Sampion. Among the most popular imported varieties are Golden Delicious, Red Delicious and Gala from Italy, and Paula Red and Royal Gala from Slovakia and Austria. “Gala organic apples from Italy are quite popular among organic varieties.”

According to Euromonitor, in 2013 retail accounted for 36.6% of domestic consumption, while food processing was the main driver of total consumption.
Prices for processing apples are about 60-75% lower.

Source: Fresh Deciduous Fruit Annual 2015: Czech Republic, Global Agricultural Information Network GAIN

Image of the Czech capital, Prague, at night: by lawyergaoge (used under Creative Commons CC0 licence)

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First figures for 2015 US apple holdings

Recent survey results show that as of November 1, this year’s fresh apple holdings in in the United States totalled 117.3 million bushels, down 19% from the record inventories reported of 145.6 million bushels at the same time last year, and 1% above the five-year average of 115.7 million bushels.

Recent survey results show that as of November 1, this year’s fresh apple holdings in the United States totalled 117.3 million bushels, down 19% from the record inventory of 145.6 million bushels reported at the same time last year, but 1% above the five-year average of 115.7 million bushels.

According to the November edition of the US Apple Association publication Market News, processing holdings totalled 42.7 million bushels, 5.4% below those on November 1 last year, but 2.5% above the five-year average.

The total number of apples in storage on November 1 was 160.0 million bushels, 16% below last November’s total.



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Snapshot of the apple market in Taiwan

Taiwan’s love story with fruit remains undiminished

A new report by the USDA’s Global Agricultural Information Network provides valuable insights into the apple market in Taiwan.

Here are some of the repoort’s highlights:

Apples and Taiwan

Apples are the most heavily consumed imported fruit in Taiwan, which has one of the world’s highest per capita consumption rates.
But apples are losing ground to other imported fruits such as cherries, grapes, peaches and berries.
Fuji is the overwhelmingly favourite apple variety, accounting for 90% of total retail.
Red & Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Gala, Pink Lady, Ambrosia and Aurora make up the remaining 10th of retail apple sales.
Washington apples are extremely popular. (Taiwan one of the top 5 export markets for Washington apples.)
Though eaten year round, significantly more apples are bought in Taiwan in autumn and winter – the prime production months for northern hemisphere growers. (During the summer months, local tropical fruits, such as mangos, papaya, and lychees, dominate.)
Reasons for this include that the apple is perceived as a ‘cool weather‘ fruit and also it is incorporated in several festivals held over this period.

Taiwan’s apple imports

With just 1,506 tons in 2014/15, Taiwan’s declining apple production meets less than 1% of domestic demand so it is reliant on imports but is a relatively mature market for fresh apples.
In 2013/14, it imported a record high 160,756 tons of apples (valued at nearly US $240 million) but in 2014/15 apple imports fell to 156,007 tons (valued at nearly $239 million), with importers expecting 160,000 tons for 2015/16.
Taiwan currently applies a 20% tariff on all apple imports.

Market share of Taiwan’s leading apple suppliers in 2014/15:

  • US: 41.2% (64,264 tons)
  • Chile 29.8% (46,522 tons)
  • Japan 14.9% (23,260 tons)
  • New Zealand 10.7% (16,673 tons)

United States

The US share of the Taiwan import market for apples began a long-term downward trend in 2000 but despite this decline, the US is expected to remain the dominant supplier of apples to Taiwan over the next few years.
In 2014/15, US apple exports to Taiwan increased nearly 29% from the previous year, to 64,264 tons ($79.1 million).
Thanks to an expected record harvest in Washington, which typically accounts for 90-95% of total US apple exports to Taiwan, the US is forecast to hold its position as the leading supplier of apples to Taiwan in 2015/16 with exports of 65,000 tons.
GAIN says importers prefer US apples for the high-quality and consistent supply.
‘New’ rivals for the US are Japan, New Zealand and Korea.


Japanese apples, accounting for about 15% of the total apple import market in Taiwan, grew 40% in 2014/15 to 23,260 tons thanks to depreciation of the Japanese yen and Taiwan consumers’ decreased concern about potential radiation leaks from nuclear power plants in food products from Japan.
While the US,Chile and New Zealand are still focused on supplying Taiwan market with traditional varieties, Japan is having great success introducing less common varieties in order to maintain the ‘premiumimage and justify higher prices.
It is not uncommon to find Japanese fruit in the market priced at 10-20% higher than other competitors.
Despite Japan being ranked third in terms of import volume, when comparing import value, Japan’s share increased to 28.4% last year and it enjoyed an export value of $2,910 per ton – 137% higher than that of the US at $1,230 per ton.
“This higher margin clearly indicates that Japanese apples continue to dominate the high value gift giving market in Taiwan due to their premium quality and excellent reputation in the perceptions of both traders and consumers,” the report says.


China remains prohibited from exporting fresh apples to Taiwan due to phytosanitary concerns.

General fruit consumption in Taiwan

The vast majority of people in Taiwan view fruit as an important part of their daily diet.
Fruit is often consumed as a snack or dessert.
It is the most common food served to visitors at home or in the office.
Unless bought solely for personal consumption, the colour, size, and general appearance of fruit are typically the buying decision factors to traders and customers in Taiwan.
The “best-looking” fruit, typically sold in gift packaging, fetches the highest prices.

Fruit as a gift in Taiwan

People send food products in gift packages to their friends and relatives during 3 major lunar-year festivals:

  • Chinese New Year (usually in February)
  • the Dragon Boat Festival (usually in June)
  • the Moon Festival (usually in September).

Fuji apples replaced Red Delicious many years ago as one of the most popular gift items during the lunar New Year holiday in Taiwan. Thanks to their colourful appearance and relatively larger size, Japanese apples are the most popular gift item during this season.

Source: Taiwan: Fresh Deciduous Fruit Annual November 4, 2015 Attaché Reports (GAIN)

1. Taipei at night, with dreamy sky by Chris:
2.  Taiwan-taipei vista de noche ciudad by n23club:

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Major growth, solid profits in New Zealand’s deciduous fruit sector

The deciduous fruit sector in New Zealand is experiencing its third year of solid profits. The sector is now well into a major expansion phase, moving towards a goal of increasing export receipts to NZ$ one billion by 2022.

The deciduous fruit sector in New Zealand is experiencing its third year of solid profits, according to a new USDA Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report.

The sector is now well into a major expansion phase, moving towards a goal of increasing export receipts to NZ$ 1 billion by 2022, up from its best so far of NZ$ 620 million for the year-to-date 2014/2015, it says. And the country’s planted deciduous tree area is estimated to be up 8% for 2015/16 at 9,750 ha and harveste area is estimated at 9,500 ha, a 6% rise on 2014/2015.

New high color varieties, primarily targeting Asian tastes, are being planted.

A cold dry winter in the Hawkes Bay region followed by a rapid increase in temperatures in October 2015 set the trees up for a compressed high volume flower blossoming in October, which augers well for the harvest in March/April 2016, GAIN said.

“Total deciduous fruit production for 2015/2016 is forecast to increase two percent, reaching a level of 565,350 metric tons (MT). With a greater volume of domestically produced apples in abundance during 2014/2015 it is estimated that domestic consumption of apples and pears will be 80,500MT, a seven percent upward shift from the previous year. Again for the 2015/2016 year there will be plenty of domestic fruit in the market and consumption is expected to remain at 80,000MT.

“The greater volume of the apple crop which has made export grade in 2014/2015 means processing volumes are unlikely to have increased as much as was expected back in April 2015. It is now estimated total deciduous fruit processing volumes will be 147,350MT which is still a 28% increase over the 2013/2014 year.”

“For the current year 2014/2015 total deciduous fruit exports are now expected to reach 331,000MT which amounts to a three percent increase from previous estimates. More of the total crop was export grade than had been expected after the hail and storm damage, which has now facilitated the export tonnage increase. For 2015/2016 it is forecast the volume will rise to 342,000MT, a gain of three percent.

Extraordinary growth in the Asian markets has translated into large export volumes for New Zealand. In fact, in 2014/2015 about 40% of the New Zealand apple export volume has gone to Asian destinations, up from 31% just two years ago. In contrast New Zealand apple exports to Europe and the UK, for so long the key region for export volume demand and overall export returns, have diminished from taking 41% of the export volume in 2012/2013 to this year, 2014/2015, 38%.

“A key element in the relative success enjoyed by New Zealand deciduous fruit exporters in Asian markets has been the negotiation of market access protocols containing sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) conditions that growers in New Zealand can comply with,” GAIN said.

Source: New Zealand: Fresh Deciduous Fruit Annual, November 5, 2015, Attaché Reports (GAIN)

Image of Tukituki River and Te Mata Peak, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand by Phillip Capper from Wellington, New Zealand [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons