31 Jan 2012

Apple exports to Australia expected to grow this year

1:03 pm on 31 January 2012

Pipfruit New Zealand expects apple exports to Australia to build steadily this year, after restoration of the trade late last year.

Australia opened its doors to New Zealand apples for the first time since 1921, after a World Trade Organisation ruling ended decades of resistance, based on growers' fears of imports bringing in the plant disease fireblight.

New Zealand apple exporters will have to contend with continuing strong opposition in political and industry circles, with Tasmania refusing to lift the ban.

But despite that and a stringent inspection regime, Pipfruit NZ says the trade will grow from the small trial shipments sent late last year.

Chief executive Peter Beaven says he sees no issues with demand for New Zealand apples in Australia.

He says adverse weather in some key growing areas will reduce the Australian crop this year and the half million New Zealanders living there will also be willing buyers.