9 Apr 2009

Growers to dump surplus kiwifruit

3:11 pm on 9 April 2009

Kiwifruit growers will be leaving up to a million trays of fruit unharvested this season as part of an agreement with marketer Zespri to manage the supply of export kiwifruit and protect prices.

A combination of a bumper crop and world recession has left the industry expecting a surplus of the green kiwifruit variety, so growers will be letting some of their crop drop from the vine or using it for stock food.

Zespri's corporate and grower services director, Carol Ward, says it has reached agreement with growers to take up to 2.5 million trays of green kiwifruit out of the export inventory.

She says that is less than 2% of total crop and is a better alternative to keeping surplus kiwifruit in coolstore and suffer higher crop losses.

As well as leaving some fruit unharvested, Ms Ward says up to a million trays of surplus top grade kiwifruit will be diverted to Australia, which is managed separately from other export markets and normally receives class two fruit.

Export grade fruit will also replace some of the class two and three fruit that normally supplies the domestic market.

NZ Kiwifruit Growers Inc chairman Peter Ombler says surplus fruit will be left to drop from the vine and mulched.

Some fruit which has been harvested and gone through the grading system will be destroyed or used for stock food, he says.