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Kiwifruit exports to fall in 2012 after record season in 2011

Monday 19th March 2012

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Zespri International, the kiwifruit marketer, said its 2012’s exports will fall back to ‘normal’ levels after a record 2011 season, as Pseudomona Syringae pv actinidiae bacteria continues to ravage orchards.

Trays for the 2012 kiwifruit season are expected to be 95 million, down from 115 million a year earlier, the company said in a statement. This is closer to the production of a normal season after 2011’s record crop.

The Te Puke-based company estimated the industry will harvest up to 20 million trays of gold kiwifruit, about 70 million trays of green kiwifruit, 3.5 million trays of organic kiwifruit and 2 million trays of the company’s newly-commercialised varieties.

“For some growers this will be their first year without a crop and for other growers they are facing the fact that once their vines have been picked they will likely have to cut out and graft across to a more Psa tolerant variety,” said Neil Trebilco, president of New Zealand kiwifruit growers.

Zespri will produce about 1 million trays of the new Gold3 variety that was commercialised in 2010 following a 10-year development programme. The kiwifruit has shown good levels of Psa tolerance, which is now a necessary quality for any successful commercial kiwifruit variety.

A decision will be made on March 21 as to whether there will be a wide-scale release of Gold3 licenses to kiwifruit growers as the industry begins its pathway away from the Psa.

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