28 Jul 2009

Co-ordinated apple export marketing urged

9:34 pm on 28 July 2009

The head of the national pipfruit growers' organisation is calling for a more disciplined and collective marketing structure for New Zealand apple exports to Europe.

Ian Palmer says growers are missing out on millions of dollars in returns because too many exporters and importers are competing in Europe to sell the fruit.

His call for a return to more co-ordinated marketing comes as the kiwifruit industry faces a legal challenge to its single-desk marketing system.

Fresh produce company Turners and Growers is seeking to end kiwifruit marketer Zespri's near monopoly on exports.

The pipfruit industry had a similar selling system before it was deregulated about eight years ago.

Mr Palmer says he is not advocating a return to that arrangement for all export markets, but the current multiple-seller approach has failed in Europe at least.

He says the industry has lost the ability to have a "Brand New Zealand" in Europe so exporters are becoming "price-takers not price-setters" in the market.

Mr Palmer plans to raise the issue at the pipfruit industry conference this week.