13 Dec 2012

Bleak outlook for gold and green kiwifruit

8:54 am on 13 December 2012

Government officials predict next season's gold kiwifruit harvest may be just half the size of this year's production.

Sixty-eight percent of all New Zealand kiwifruit orchards are infected with the vine-killing bacteria PSA - up from 26% one year ago. Many of those orchards have been devastated.

Ministry for Primary Industries manager of economic information and analysis Chris Jones says the MPI's latest sector forecast predicts gold kiwifruit production will be down significantly in the 2013/14 season.

He says the worst case scenario is that exports of gold kiwifruit may fall to 10 - 16 million trays from 24 million trays in 2012/2013.

Mr Jones says up to one quarter of the total kiwifruit export revenue could be adversely impacted.

He expects a slight recovery in following seasons as new and hopefully more PSA-tolerant gold kiwifruit cultivars begin producing fruit.

But the ministry admits it's too early to tell whether these new varieties will really stand up to PSA.

Green kiwifruit orchards are also being hit by PSA - particularly the male vines. The ministry reports there is some industry concern over whether there will be enough pollen available for pollination to occur in coming seasons.