12 Apr 2016

Bumper NZ apple crop worth $700m

5:02 pm on 12 April 2016

The country's latest export apple crop is expected to bring in $700 million.


Photo: 123RF

330 tonnes worth of apples were harvested last year, worth about $620 million, and it's predicted the figure could reach up to 350 tonnes this season.

Harvesting of Royal Gala has now finished and Braeburn is currently being picked, with Fuji and Granny Smiths coming off the trees in the next few weeks.

Pipfruit New Zealand chief executive Allan Pollard said growers were headed for one of the best seasons ever, having already had three years of exceptional volumes and very good quality.

"So what we are seeing now is a sustainable growth in production, export pack-out and quality and some of that comes from the fact that we've got a lot more new plantings coming on stream now, so when we are predicting further out into the future, for example next season, we are forecasting it to be a much bigger crop than we have got this season."

Mr Pollard said that not were volumes increasing, but since 2012 there had been an increase of more than 50 percent in the value per metric tonne.

He said demand from overseas markets continued to be strong.

"We are heading towards half to Asia and half into Europe and North America. All of the markets are looking pretty strong and demand is exceeding supply at the moment.

"There is a lot more investment being made by existing businesses and there is in excess of one million trees planted last year and we anticipate about the same this year."

Mr Pollard said with the current success of apples, the focus needed to be on making sure there were enough people to work in the industry.

"With the skills we need for the growth we are experiencing so that is not just in harvest. As volumes increase we need a lot more people to help in the harvest but it is also in the permanent jobs right through the value-chain. We are doing a lot of work with the government and other organisations on that."

Mr Pollard said the continued risk of biosecurity incursions was always important, and work was being done with MPI and other industries to make sure border protection continued to be the best it could be.