29 Apr 2009

Kiwifruit growers urged not to pick 1m trays

8:50 pm on 29 April 2009

Growers of green kiwifruit are backing a call by Zespri to leave 1 million trays of fruit unharvested this season.

Zespri says this will help protect the export price, in a year where record production is meeting a global recession.

More than 100 million trays of kiwifruit were shipped last season.

That's more than double the volume of 10 years ago.

New plantings in recent times, combined with great summer growing conditions in the Bay of Plenty, mean there is a bumper crop.

However, Zespri chief executive Lain Jager says over-supplying Europe and the Far East would lead to losses.

Mr Jager says the agreement to withhold a small proportion of the lowest-grade crop reveals a mature industry with a strong future.

He describes it as "crop management".

Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated president Peter Ombler says the measure is supported by the majority of growers.