28 Jun 2017

Golden kiwifruit will drive industry expansion - report

1:36 pm on 28 June 2017

The popularity of golden kiwifruit is predicted to drive growth in the industry in the coming decades, a report says.

Golden kiwifruit.

Golden kiwifruit Photo: 123RF

A report from Waikato University, commissioned by Zespri, is predicting the sector's gross domestic product will increase from $2.6 billion in the 2015/16 season to $6.14bn in 2030.

It said that without the golden kiwifruit variety SunGold, the New Zealand kiwifruit industry would be less that half the size of the 2030 projections.

Waikato University Professor Frank Scrimgeour said the report quantified the contribution the kiwifruit industry, including new varities, makes to the economy.

"The regional growth projections are very strong: in Bay of Plenty, kiwifruit accounts for 10,762 full-time equivalent jobs now and an additional 14,329 jobs by 2030, along with a 135 percent increase of GDP contribution to $2.04 billion."

He said Northland is set to increase by 506 jobs over the same period, with contribution to GDP set to increase 135 percent to $72 million.

"It was encouraging to see Māori are also set to benefit from kiwifruit's growth, with grower revenue set to increase from $271 million to $638 million per year by 2030.

Prof Scrimgeour said there has been a significant taxpayer and industry contribution to research funding and this report justifies that investment.

"Having looked at many evaluations of research expenditure ... it's hard to see where the value is and sometimes even though you have an inkling that something is good it's hard to provide the evidence.

"But in this case I think there's pretty transparent evidence that this has been a good investment by the Crown."

General manager of innovation at Zespri, Carol Ward, said sector has bounced back from the vine disease PSA.

"Coming out of PSA we've been able to recover our export volumes, we've been able to present Zespri SunGold to consumers and it's a golden yellow tasty, delicious piece of fruit that everyone is responding really positively towards."

Ms Ward said SunGold is a lot more "tolerant" of PSA disease.

"With good management and the right environment we're able to work through it. It's not always an easy job but we're able to work through it."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs