31 Mar 2014

Kiwifruit export season under way

9:18 am on 31 March 2014

The first kiwifruit of the new season set sail for Japan at the weekend.

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Picking began last week in Gisborne, Hawke's Bay and Te Puke and Zespri says gold kiwifruit volumes are forecast to rise after several years of decline.

The exporter predicts 16 million trays of the profitable gold kiwifruit will be harvested, up from 11 million trays last year.

Gold numbers are recovering as orchardists begin growing what looks to be a more PSA tolerant variety of gold kiwifruit known as SunGold or Gold3.

The vine-destroying bacterial disease arrived in the country in 2010 after biosecurity officials let in infected kiwifruit plant material from China. It wiped out the former gold kiwifruit variety Hort16A in key growing regions.

In total, the industry is expecting to harvest 85 million trays of kiwifruit - the vast majority being the green variety.