23 Jul 2008

Zespri confident of increased export payout to growers

9:30 am on 23 July 2008

The kiwifruit marketer Zespri is confident it can achieve a minimum increase to growers for this year's export crop of 65 cents a tray more than last year's average returns.

In May the company told growers it hoped to increase the payment for Zespri green by at least 45 cents a tray and 39 cents for gold kiwifruit.

The Chairman Craig Greenlees says Zespri is doing all it can to improve export sale prices for kiwifruit and cut fixed costs.

He says shipping costs have increased because of the price of oil and labour costs in New Zealand are going up.

Mr Greenlees says it means they have change things to reduce costs.

He says examples include introducing a new pack type which has saved $2-5 million a year and focusing on larger fruit which could add up to savings of $20 million a year.

Mr Greenlees says it's always a challenge for Zespri to keep reducing costs but it's necessary for the future good of the industry.