26 Oct 2022

Plantings of gold kiwifruit to be limited again to ease concerns over quality

1:36 pm on 26 October 2022
A stock photo of gold kiwifruit.

Photo: 123rf

Poor quality fruit arriving on overseas markets and labour shortages are forcing the kiwifruit marketer, Zespri, to limit how much gold fruit it wants to handle in a few years from now.

Zespri controls how many hectares of SunGold kiwifruit can be planted each year, and it could have released between 350-700 hectares in 2023 .

In past years 700ha of gold licence has been released; last year that was cut back to 350ha.

Zespri executive officer Carol Ward said a conservative approach was being taken again this year with 350ha up for grabs. The new licensed area will have fruit ready for export in about three years' time.

"We know that we've got really strong market demand in the global market, but here in New Zealand has been challenging with the labour shortages and constraints through the whole supply chain, that a more conservative licence release position was required.

"This year we have seen quality issues in the market, brought about by the labour shortages and we didn't handle it as well as we should have.

"So we are focusing on improving quality for our customers this year so we would expect to see in two or three years when that fruit (from next year's licence release) becomes available, that our quality problems have been well understood," she said.

Ward said 200 of the 350 hectares of gold licence on offer will be sold to orchardists planning to convert current green orchards to gold.

She said this acknowledged that many green growers were struggling to make money.

"For Zespri the marketer what it does do is allows us to optimise that market performance of green, and strengthen its profitability by just reducing the pressure on the volumes of fruit that we need to sell there."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs