27 Jul 2015

Annual fruit exports crack $2 billion for first time

2:22 pm on 27 July 2015

The annual value of fruit exports has hit an all-time high, led by kiwifruit and apples.

Zespri gold kiwifruit grown on Jeju Island.

Photo: RNZ / Jane Patterson

Official figures show the value rose by 20 percent to $2 billion in the year to June.

Statistics New Zealand said annual fruit exports rose due to higher prices and an increase in volume.

That was helped by the highest ever monthly sales overseas in May, while June and April took out second and third place respectively.

Kiwifruit and apples led the monthly increases, with May's exports being the highest value recorded for both fruits.

That was despite a fall in land under cultivation 5 percent decline in the canopy area of kiwifruit, and similar decline in the area planted in apples between 2012 and 2014.

Kiwifruit accounted for 59 percent of fruit exports, with apples making up another 28 percent, and avocados 6 percent.

Some 27 percent of fruit exports went to Europe, with Japan at 14 percent and China at 13 percent making up the other top destinations.

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