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 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons