New Zealand’s apple growing regions will reap the rewards of a record $700 million export apple crop forecast for 2016.
Pipfruit New Zealand chief executive Alan Pollard, said with final crop estimates now in, the industry is expecting to produce 19.5 million export cartons for 2016 which is up 5.5% on last year.
Based on current market indicators, the industry is now forecasting export returns to top $700 million, compared to last season’s bumper $630 million season.
“New Zealand’s apple industry is entering an extremely exciting time capturing significant growth, investment and profitability.
“It’s great news for our apple growing regions, injecting millions directly back into the local economies of Hawke’s Bay, Nelson and Central Otago, Gisborne, Waikato, Wairarapa and South Canterbury.
“Across the regions we are creating more jobs, training and career opportunities to support the growth in the pipfruit industry.
“We are seeing increased business for the horticultural service sector and greater economic activity and development in packhouses, cool storage, transport logistics and freight,” he said.
“2016 is likely to be the third back to back record export season for apples, and firmly cements New Zealand’s apple industry’s No 1 ranking in the world for international competiveness.
“We are now well on track to achieving our $1billion export earnings goal earlier than our 2022 target,” Mr Pollard said.
“The significant growth in new plantings has young trees now coming into production which has broken the off-season cycle that was expected for the coming season.
“Even after Nelson experienced significant hail losses for some growers, the region is forecast to be only down slightly (6.6%) on last year, which is a very positive outcome,” Mr Pollard said.
Pipfruit New Zealand chairman Nadine Tunley said pipfruit’s ongoing record performance is extremely rewarding and recognises the hard yards, commitment and achievements of everyone working together in the best interests of the industry.
“It’s an industry-wide effort and its fantastic to see a new level of enthusiasm which is attracting younger people wanting to work and study and build careers in horticulture which is critical for our future,” Ms Tunley said.
The industry has moved to a more consolidated, vertically integrated structure, has continued to improve quality standards to produce superior fruit, advanced changes in orchard design and best practice management techniques, along with developing new “club” varieties with trademarked intellectual property and eating qualities preferred by Asian markets.
The forecast $700 million in export apple returns this year compares to $341 million in 2012 – an increase of 105% in only four years.