24 Dec 2012

Green's good, but gold's a worry - kiwifruit grower

11:50 pm on 24 December 2012

Horticulture New Zealand president Andrew Fenton says farmers growing export crops would like to see lower, less harmful, exchange rates.

And those supplying the local market want some more stability there, in terms of both prices and demand.

As a kiwifruit grower who's seen the bacterial vine canker Psa destroy his gold kiwifruit vines, he's also acutely aware of that kiwifruit growers will want to see some light at the end of the tunnel as many face the prospect of having no orchard income.

"A clear pathway to recovery would be at the top of many, many (kiwifruit) growers wishlists," he says.

"We have about 2600 kiwifruit growers in Horticulture NZ - that's a significant number of people who are looking forward to better prospects in their industry".

Mr Fenton says he is a typical grower of Zespri's Hort16A cultivar, which has proved extremely susceptible to the vine canker - he has removed the cultivar from his orchard.

"I picked my last crop in May 2012 - and I still have the cashflow from that.

"But in 2013 and 2014, and 2015 - there will be no cashflow as I work towards getting a new crop of the G3 (cultivar).

"Even that's a little bit touch-and-go at the moment, but we're hoepful that will prove to be a good choice.

"For green growers, their crop is looking very very good this year - it's probably one of the best green crops there has been for a while.

"So, it's not all bad news, but certainly kiwifruit growers would like to have some positive relief from the situation they are facing at the moment," says Mr Fenton.