10 Dec 2015

Record numbers again for Zespri

6:17 pm on 10 December 2015

Kiwifruit marketer and exporter Zespri has again hit record crop numbers for the 2015 kiwifruit season.

Kiwifruit

Photo: 123RF

Green volumes increased 16 percent to more than 80 million trays, and volumes of the gold variety SunGold almost tripled from last year, to 32 million trays.

The return for green kiwifruit was $4.87 per tray, and gold was $7.96 per tray.

The company was forecasting record crops in the next few years as the industry recovered from the vine disease PSA, Zespri's chief operating officer Simon Limmer said.

"We have gold production configured to go through to potentially somewhere between 60 and 70 million trays in the next two or three years, so at 32 million trays we've still got a long way to go before we reach full production," Mr Limmer said.

Close up of box of golden kiwifruit

Photo: AFP / Monty Rakusen / Cultura Creative

"That is largely an impact of the transition out of the old gold variety during the 2012 season and driven by PSA into the new SunGold variety, but we've also seen that SunGold has massive potential in the market, we believe, and so we've transitioned quite a lot of the traditional Hayward variety into Sungold as well, so we have a much bigger volume of gold than we did pre-PSA also."

The prices for growers have eased this year and will continue to do because of the growth, Mr Limmer said.

"For green we achieved a record return at around $6 a tray last year, we're back just under the $5 per tray rate this year, but that's also on the back of really high production, high productivity," he said.

"And from a gold perspective, as that volume ramps up we'll start to see more normalised per tray returns and for gold this year at just under $8 that's back a little bit on the previous year, but we've got a 300 percent increase in volume so that's inevitable."

The company had record sales of nearly 21 million trays into Japan, and China's sales increased from 11.4 million trays in 2014 to 18 million trays this year, Mr Limmer said.

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