17 Dec 2014

Big boost forecast for kiwifruit growers

3:06 pm on 17 December 2014

Kiwifruit marketer Zespri is telling growers in its latest forecast they can expect a big boost in returns from this year's crop.

kiwifruit on vines

Photo: PHOTO NZ

It has increased its price predictions from the October forecast for green kiwifruit by 20 cents a tray to $5.91, organic green by 28 cents to $7.09 and the gold variety up 14 cents to $9.72.

At those prices, per-hectare returns for Green and Organic Green growers will reach record levels of more than $52,000 and $42,000, respectively.

Zespri chief executive Lain Jager said it was due to a combination of limited supplies, the right market conditions and strong end-of-season sales.

"This year's been a story of some quite remarkable one-off supply conditions and that's about a very serious frost in Chile during the growing season last year, which has meant the kiwifruit market has been short of green kiwifruit through the course of this year - that's led to very strong green returns," he said.

"Zespri Gold is still in short supply as our volumes recover from the impact of (vine killing disease) PSA. We had only 11 million trays of gold in the 2013 season; we've had 19 million trays of gold in the 2014 season, but that's off a high of 30-million trays in 2011, so still recovering those gold volumes.

"Fruit loss is a very important cost line in our business. In a season where sales are strong and the season finishes early, then we have much lower fruit loss than we do in a season where perhaps sales are not as robust and we're selling later, there can be as much as a dollar per tray in quality costs so to have a low fruit loss season does a lot to support the grower return."

Zespri would have the final returns from this year in February.

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