Last year was a bumper one for the New Zealand kiwifruit industry with production up 30% to 475,000 tons, exports up 31% to 454,000 tons, and FOB export receipts up 43% to NZ $1.44 billion yoy, reports the USDA.
This year is forecast to be one of consolidation with production and exports up just 1.5% to 482,400 and 460,400 tons respectively.
But over the next 4-5 years, export volumes are likely to resume a faster growth rate, expanding by an estimated additional 20% to reach levels of around 540,000 to 550,000 tons per annum, according to the USDA’s Kiwifruit Sector Report for 2016.
Rise of the Gold kiwifruit variety “G3”
The impressive 31% increase in exports last year over exports in 2014 “is testament to how quickly growers have been able to get the new Gold G3 variety up to mature yields and the superb growing season in 2014/15, which maximised yields in the orchards,” the report says.
And while this year little growth is expected in overall kiwi exports, the variety mix exported will change considerably with Gold kiwifruit volumes up by an estimated 30% and comprising 36% of the total volume of kiwifruit exported from New Zealand.
Zespri Gold sells at a premium to virtually all other kiwifruit. The northern E.U. takes the biggest volume of NZ kiwi exports but at a significantly lower FOB price per ton (44% less) than Japan. This is not just due to higher prices for all kiwifruit in Japan, but reflects that Gold kiwifruit comprise 36% of all kiwifruit sold in Japan and just 17% in Northern E.U.
The report says a core strategy for Zespri in order to maintain current price/demand relationships in its more mature markets, amid the increased supply expected in the next four years, is to invest strongly in developing markets. For Zespri these are: China, Latin America (especially Brazil), Turkey, the Middle-East, Mexico and South Korea.
Read Gain report NZ1601, March 24, 2016, “Kiwifruit Sector Report – 2016”