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Zespri Prepares for Record-Breaking Kiwifruit Crop in 2024

February 22, 2024

According to a recent media statement, in the upcoming season Zespri expects to see its biggest ever kiwifruit crop, with the company projecting that it will ship approximately 193 million trays of the fruit to global markets. This would represent an impressive 45% increase compared with last season, which saw a total export volume of 133 million trays.

Although the harvest is still some weeks away, growing conditions in New Zealand have reportedly been favorable in recent months. “While it’s still early, the crop is looking excellent and there’s a lot of excitement and optimism in the industry,” Zespri CEO Dan Mathieson said in the statement.

Jiang Shijie, Zespri’s general manager for Greater China, revealed that the company’s exports to the Chinese market (including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan) are expected to rise to 193,000 metric tons this year, while supplies to mainland China should increase by 42% over last season. The Chinese market currently accounts for 27% of Zespri’s total exports worldwide, ranking first among the company’s single-country markets. In regard to the recently introduced RubyRed variety, the company estimates that this season’s output will reach 2,000 metric tons, with China accounting for nearly 50% of global consumption.

The past few years have been challenging for Zespri’s kiwifruit growers, with the industry first being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, then by severe labor shortages in 2022 and adverse weather in New Zealand in 2023. However, the 2024 season appears promising, and the sector has started to define new management strategies in light of the expected increase in supply. According to Mathieson, this year Zespri will focus on seizing early-season sales opportunities while ensuring adequate supply to its markets. Concurrently, significant work is being planned in terms of cold chain storage and transportation, aiming to minimize end-of-season quality issues and guarantee a consistent supply of high-quality fruit throughout the entire season.

The first batch of this year’s Zespri kiwifruit is scheduled to reach China through Shanghai’s Nangang Port in late March, which will coincide with the launch of the company’s “Kiwi Brothers” marketing campaign featuring two animated kiwifruit characters aiming to educate consumers about the health benefits of kiwifruit. Thereafter, hundreds of containers and more than 20 reefer vessels carrying kiwifruit from New Zealand are expected to arrive at ports across China to meet the growing demand for kiwifruit among Chinese consumers.

Image: Zespri

This article was based on a Chinese article. Read the original article.

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