31 Jan 2011

Apple export volume rise expected

11:06 am on 31 January 2011

Pipfruit New Zealand expects this year's export apple crop to be up about 20% on last year.

Chief executive Peter Beaven says exporters expect to have more than 17 million cartons to sell.

He says both Hawke's Bay and Nelson, which provide more than 90% of the export volume, have enjoyed much more favourable growing conditions than in 2009-2010, when rain and hail damaged a lot of fruit.

The organisation is also cautiously optimistic about prospects this year in the UK and Europe.

Mr Beaven the tonnage of unsold European-produced apples still in cool storage - a good indication of how well new season's produce from New Zealand will fare - is at similar levels to last year.

He says the first southern hemisphere arrivals into Europe typically come from Brazil, but the value of Brazil's currency has increased, which should reduce their early arrival apple exports.

Mr Beaven says little is known at the moment about this year's apple production in Chile, a major competitor for New Zealand, though exporters will also have to contend with an unfavourable exchange rate for the Chilean currency.