11 Jun 2024

Zespri asks growers to back increasing northern hemisphere supply

1:07 pm on 11 June 2024
Zespri kiwifruit

The amount that can be grown overseas is capped. Photo: Zespri

Zespri is again asking growers what they think of increasing the supply of kiwifruit grown in the Northern Hemisphere.

The marketing company partners with growers in Italy, France, Greece, Japan and Korea to complement the New Zealand season, supplying fruit to consumers all-year round.

Known as Zespri Global Supply (ZGS), the amount that can be grown is capped - but the company said it was not meeting growing consumer demand.

Growers in those five countries combined can supply Zespri with 20 million trays of green kiwifruit a year, but only able to grow 5000 hectares of SunGold and a 1000 hectares of any new variety.

Zespri put forward a proposal to increase those limits in 2022, but growers here did not vote in favour.

Those that voted against the proposal were concerned about an oversupply of fruit growing the volume of fruit too quickly, and that Zespri would struggle to maintain the quality of overseas-sourced fruit.

But Zespri said by not being able to meet growing demand for kiwifruit all year round, competitors were taking market share.

It said with the current limits for kiwifruit grown in the Northern Hemisphere, it would only meet 42 percent of forecast demand by 2033.

In an update to growers, it asked them to think about growing ZGS.

"Most growers support ZGS, but many of you are undecided and some of you are opposed. Questions remain about the way forward and there are concerns we need to work through.

"As a result, this time around we'll be asking for grower input into the future of ZGS and proposed producer vote resolution before we decide whether to progress with a vote."

Zespri said there were three aspects the industry needed to consider - the number of hectares to approve, the approval period and what reporting was required to give growers comfort and confidence in ZGS.

Zespri said it would talk about the proposal during upcoming grower events, including shed talks, roadshows and the grower survey, which will take place in July.

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