9 Aug 2013

Pipfruit NZ sets sights on $1b goal

1:40 pm on 9 August 2013

A new Pipfruit New Zealand strategy unveiled this week aims to more than double the value of apple and pear exports in the next decade.

It says the key to making the industry a $1billion-a-year earner lies in improving market access, especially in the growing Asian markets.

Chief executive Alan Pollard says it's ambitious but achievable, despite ongoing obstacles in markets such as China. New Zealand has a free trade agreement there but Mr Pollard says trade and access agreements don't necessarily bring rapid results - for example, even though New Zealand has won the right to export apples to Australia after an 80-year ban, it has only been able to send 25 tonnes there this season.

He says the protocols for getting New Zealand fruit into Australia are quite tough and it's very expensive to prepare fruit for the Australian market. However, he is optimistic that New Zealand will be able to negotiate more workable quarantine rules for sending apples to Australia.

Mr Pollard was one of those who spoke to Parliament's Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee on Thursday about the recently signed new trade agreement with Taiwan. He says Asian markets like Taiwan are a key to achieving the $1 billion target.

"If we are going to achieve our goals there are a number of constraints," he says. "Very clearly we can have the best product in the world, which we believe we do have, but if we don't have a market to sell it to in fair conditions and for fair prices, then we are honestly wasting our time."