Record revenue for Seeka

Seeka has announced it generated record revenue of NZ$$310m (US$208m) for the year ended 31 December 2021 (FY21), a result powered by improved kiwifruit production.

The listed New Zealand company’s net profit before tax was also up 44 per cent year-on-year, to NZ$23.5m, results chief executive Michael Franks attributed to a long-term strategy.

"Seeka's 2021 financial performance comes from a deliberate strategy to significantly improve Seeka’s underlying operating earnings," said Franks.

"Revenue is up 23 per cent to a record NZ$310m helped by a rebound in Hayward kiwifruit volumes and the ongoing lift in SunGold kiwifruit production. EBITDA is up 32 per cent to A$56.8m as a tight focus on costs improved Seeka’s operating margin, especially following the one-off Covid-19 expenses incurred in FY20. FY21 EBITDA also benefited from a NZ$7.6m compensation payment from the Crown’s settlement of the Psa kiwifruit class action.

 Franks said Seeka had also increased its regional service with three major kiwifruit acquisitions.

“These acquisitions have grown Seeka's market share, and we are planning on handling 26 per cent of the national kiwifruit crop in 2022. The businesses are now fully integrated and are set to deliver significant synergy gains in FY22,” said Franks.

"Post-harvest capacity was reviewed and a decision on a greenfield development at Pukenga was deferred in favour of a NZ$20m capacity upgrade in the Bay of Plenty. A highly-automated MAF Roda packline is being installed at KKP and new coolstores with environmentally-friendly coolant are under construction at Transcool. These upgrades are expected to deliver sufficient capacity through to 2024.

"Seeka’s growth has led to an enlarged, five bank syndicated facility to fund near-term capacity upgrades. It also provides headroom to continue Seeka's growth strategy."



Author: Liam O'Callaghan

Stink bug threatens Italian fruit

Country's entire pear crop said to be in danger following unprecedented outbreak, with apples and kiwifruit also at risk

ruit crops including pears, apples and kiwifruit in some of Italy's major producing regions are reportedly under grave threat following an unusually widespread outbreak of brown marmorated stink bug.

The insect, which is native to several Asian countries and has recently established itself as a pest in part of Europe, North America and South America, is said to be worryingly prevalent this year across much of northern Italy, including Piedmont Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, Trentino-South Tyrol and Friuli-Venezia Giulia.

According to reports, the outbreak is so serious that some believe it threatens to wipe out Italy's entire pear crop, with estimated potential damage to that sector alone ranging from €250m to in excess of €400m.

Giorgio Mercuri, president of national cooperatives alliance ACI's agricultural division, called on the government to set up an emergency committee of ministerial and regional representatives to tackle the problem, which he said had been further aggravated by an unseasonable climate.

"This dramatic crisis, whose financial impact on businesses is remarkable, is now also expanding to other products – vegetables, soy and wheat – and regions such as Friuli Venezia Giulia and Piedmont, and is predicted that the damage will further increase," he said.

Agricultural body Confagricoltura's Emilia Romagna office released a statement confirming the bug had been detected in Italy's so-called golden quadrilateral, an area linking Ferrara, Modena, Bologna and Ravenna that is responsible for producing almost three-quarters of the country's pear crop.

The group's regional president Albano Bergami, who also produces pears near Ferrara, underscored the severity of the episode. "The reality is beyond our imagination and even more negative than any ominous initial forecast," he commented.

"Serious damage caused by the Asian bug is also being found on all varieties of pears, including Santa Maria in full harvest and even in the areas where the killer insect in the past had never appeared, so much so that now its presence can be considered endemic."

Uphill struggle

Even where crops are protected, for example with netting, the magnitude of the outbreak and the sheer number of bugs is apparently leading to damage that renders the remaining crops unprofitable.

"Some of our fellow producers have already left the pear plants to their fate because of [brown marmorated stink bug]," revealed Simone Spreafico, owner and director of Spreafico, one of Italy's largest fresh produce marketers, in conversation with Italiafruit.

A video recorded by Spreafico and posted on the Italiafruit website late last week showed a massive swarm of stink bugs apparently at a pear orchard in Veneto.

Another video, posted on Twitter by Professor Max Suckling, biosecurity science group leader at New Zealand's Plant and Food Research, showed the bugs crawling across a mower at an apple research orchard in Trentino, north-west Italy, managed by Fondazione Edmund Mach.

"The latest case was this week: a 40ha farm in Rovigo, which had just started harvesting the summer variety Santa Maria," Spreafico added. "After having seen the huge damage to the fruit, the owner decided to abandon all operations."

Even with covers, he said, volume losses would still be around 30-40 per cent. "Younger bugs, in fact, are so small that they can often slip into nets. We can do nothing to counter them. Unfortunately, this insect will take away even the little pears that we expected to harvest this year."

As far as Spreafico was concerned, it made no sense to produce if only two-thirds of the potential production ends up being viable. "It can be done for a year, two at most," he told Italiafruit. "The 2019 vintage is considered lost. Next year, we will be forced to cut down the trees.

"As producers we need immediate responses from government and research bodies, so we can overcome the bug problem in the shortest possible time."

Fruitnet understands that some producers in Italy are looking to adopt control measures similar to those employed in other parts of Europe and the US, where affected growers have been known to deploy an insect known as the Samurai wasp to bring stink bug infestations under control.

The wasps are known to deposit eggs in the bug's own eggs, which then die as the parasitic larvae grow.



Author: Mike Knowles

Seeka's kiwifruit harvest in full swing

Seeka's kiwifruit harvest is in full swing across both New Zealand and Australia with the company cautiously assessing the effect of the dry summer with both countries experiencing hot dry conditions. Rainfall in New Zealand was unseasonably low through the first quarter, and in Australia, Shepparton was in drought conditions with temperatures regularly above 40 degrees.

Generally, harvest 2019 began early attributed to dry late summer conditions. In New Zealand; the SunGold harvest is nearing completion with Seeka over 96% packed. Attention is now focusing on Hayward.

In the case of Hayward, Seeka has processed approximately 30% of its crop. Yields from early orchards were below estimate and the company is watching the next phase of the harvest to ascertain full year crop volume.

Seeka has significantly refurbished its Oakside site including a significant machine upgrade, and had constructed a new packhouse and packing machine at its newly acquired Kerikeri site. Both machines have commissioned well and hit their targeted volumes.

The company also purchased the business of Aongatete Coolstores Limited just prior to the season adding between 4m and 4.5m trays of supply to the group. The Aongatete purchase included experienced staff supported by loyal growers.

Safety through the early part of the season had been a particular focus for Seeka as part of its sustainability drive. The SunGold crop which is increasing in volume puts pressure on labour numbers for a short period. A labour shortage has been declared, and has resulted in some easing of the shortage, but some shifts remain difficult to fully resource. Adding to this pressure, the structure of the early season meant that post-harvest operators worked long hours to achieve premiums for their growers in achieving payment deadlines. Seeka has advocated changes to the structure to deliver a better safety profile.

Seeka has completed the harvest of its Red variety which was successfully picked, packed and exported to Australia. The spectacular fruit has a striking red central star burst on a golden background and with its sweet, berry flavour which has been well received by consumers.

The harvest of Seeka's green kiwifruit grown in Australia is also underway for the domestic and export markets. The team has worked well under dry conditions to produce a great quality crop.

Given the early start, the season is expected to finish in late May. Seeka is satisfied with the service delivered to our growers to date and the fruit's quality and performance to the market. It looks forward to continuing a safe and successful 2019 kiwifruit harvest.

For more information:
Kim McFadden



Kiwi fruit claim costs New Zealand taxpayers $6 million plus in Biosecurity case

Taxpayers have so far spent $6 million to defend the kiwifruit claim case, and the Appeal Court hearing has yet to start. This will make it the most expensive primary sector court case on record.

In June, the 212 growers who joined a class action won a High Court case which found the Ministry for Primary Industries was negligent in allowing the disease Psa into the country in 2010. They are claiming $450m compensation.

MPI said it was taking the case to appeal because it sought to "clarify the scope for government regulators to be sued in negligence". It added the High Court finding had the potential to "significantly impact on the Ministry's biosecurity operations".

The claimants have filed a cross-appeal on the grounds that packer Seeka was owed a duty of care, contrary to the High Court finding, and that MPI was negligent in failing to inspect a shipment of banned kiwifruit plant material, infected with Psa, when it arrived from China.

The 12-week High Court case was funded by litigation funder the LPF Group, chaired by former Supreme Court judge Bill Wilson. As a funder of the class action, LPF Group is to receive a percentage of the compensation granted.

In response to an Official Information request, the Ministry for Primary Industries said the $6m figure did not include internal staffing costs, and it would not be possible to provide an exact figure for the total time spent by staff. The costs for consultants and experts paid directly by MPI was $400,000.

Source: via 

Publication date : 9/17/2018

Seeka's Australian operations growing by the year

Continued investment in orchards, and post-harvest infrastructure with a focus on producing a better quality product has helped Seeka Australia create strong demand for its kiwifruit.

Seeka Australia commenced harvest and packing for its green kiwifruit season in early April, and Sales Manager Cameron Carter says it has been going well, with good volumes of kiwifruit been picked, packed and dispatched for customers.

"The growing period has seen plentiful amounts of sunshine, with minimal rainfall," he said. "While our forecasted volume for the season is down slightly from last year, we still have a good crop ahead of us. The taste of the fruit is exceptional, and it has been a very good kiwifruit vintage year in Australia."

Mr Carter added demand is strong because Seeka has focused on presenting and delivering our consumers a better quality fruit.

"The market has responded to the better Seeka quality with more demand and Seeka has invested in additional orchards to meet that demand," he said. "The team at Seeka Australia works tirelessly in growing, harvesting, packing and distributing its produce, providing a fully integrated orchard to market service, to ensure we are the best in class, delivering on our company vision of being Australia’s premier produce company."

The bulk of Seeka's current production in Australia is centred around Hayward green kiwifruit, with only trial areas of new varieties.

"There are of course a range of other kiwifruit varieties becoming available in Australia," Mr Carter said. "Seeka is evaluating new varieties in all categories that we grow including nashi and European pears. There are exciting prospects."

Seeka's main market for our Australian kiwifruit is domestic sales, with the company realising it needs to invest in additional capacity to meet the increased supply and demand, but it is not quite at that point.

"In the meantime we have initiated an expanded export program to match the crop to capacity and the exported fruit to existing customers have gone extremely well," Mr Carter said. "We are always looking at and thoroughly exploring any opportunities that present themselves and fall within our overall strategy."

The company's nashi pear harvest ran from January to March this year, and Mr Carter has praised his team for growing and harvesting one of the best crops the company has ever seen from these orchards, both in volume and quality.

"Every crop we grow, including our nashi pears, are grown across our seven orchards in Bunbartha, 15 minutes’ drive from Shepparton, and part of the Goulburn Valley, often referred to as the ‘Fruit Bowl’ of Australia," he said. "Demand for nashi pears, is stable, with the majority of what we grow servicing our local retail and wholesale customers."

For more information:
Cameron Carter
Seeka Australia
Phone: +61 428 427 459
Publication date: 4/26/2018
Author: Matthew Russell

Australian Hayward kiwi for the European market

The Australian kiwi has a relatively short but also very successful history: pampered by the many Australian sunshine hours, it offers a consistent taste thanks to its high sugar content. Seeka Australia is one of Australia's premier fruit production companies, in particular for the Hayward Kiwi.

Bratzler & Co. has been working for years on expanding and maintaining direct producer relations around the globe. Focusing on just a few exotics, the fruit trading company is, among other things, using these partnerships to consistently further its value-added chain. “Seeka operates in the Goulburn Valley, the so-called 'Fruit Bowl' of Australia," said Thorsten Blasius, Managing Director Bratzler & Co. “The conditions are ideal there - plenty of sun, high temperatures and good soil provide us with the high sugar content and the extraordinary quality of these kiwis. The supply capacities of our partner are unbeatable with regard to the Australian market.”

Direct relationships create more possibilities

For more than 10 years, Bratzler & Co. has maintained an intensive and cooperative trading relationship with its Australian kiwi supplier and it has been heavily involved in the successful marketing of this high-quality kiwi in Europe. Since the beginning of this cooperation, Bratzler & Co. has been the exclusive partner for the marketing of this product in Europe. According to Blasius, these direct relationships are becoming increasingly important, especially in the premium segment. “The trade demands taste sensations. But it also wants a consistent product. This is only possible if everything fits during the production and we know all the ins and outs. Then we can optimally prepare through logistics, storage and processing. This, in turn, is only worthwhile if the amounts of produce justify the effort.”

Blasius also appreciates the Australians’ style of collaborating - uncomplicated and flexible. For example, retailers in Europe have the opportunity to put their own brand names on the kiwi’s, because these are unwrapped goods. At the right purchasing quantities, the integration of their own packaging systems in the supply process is feasible without much trouble. "With Seeka in Australia we are working together with a fully industrialized nation at our own level - much more is possible than with some other suppliers." So Bratzler & Co. still sees many possibilities for their customers in Europe.

Consistent quality & measurable good results 

Why the combination of merchandise volumes and industrial standards plays an important role for Bratzler & Co. is also revealed in the self-image of the company. "We have not been just a dealer for a long time, we are acting along the entire value chain and that starts with working in the field." But we also do a lot when the goods arrive at our warehouses. It is invaluable when I find a consistent product - then dry matter, Brix value, strength and internal defects can be identified much more accurately, which is valuable for the overall delivery. With near-infrared light (NIR) and other non-traumatic analysis methods, we are able to effectively separate ripe and unripe fruits. This way we treat our fruit carefully and sustainably, ensuring excellent quality for delivery," says Blasius.

Deliveries from Australia are typically expected from mid-May, this year in calibres 27 (115-125g), 30 (105-115g) and 36 (85-95g). Large quantities of Australian origin reamin in the market up until September. For a while now, the Australian Haywards have made a considerable contribution to Bratzler & Co.’s ability to supply kiwi’s year-round. "And they are of a particularly high quality," says Blasius, who is already looking forward to the next innovation of his Australian partner. "This year we will already receive first KIWI GOLD batches from Seeka. Starting next year, larger quantities are expected." It is obviously a cooperation that bears fruit on both sides of the world.

High modern protection nets are available to kiwi producers

For more information:
Bratzler & Co. GmbH
Weinweg 43
76137 Karlsruhe
Tel.: +49 (0)721 . 96185 . 22
Fax: +49 (0)721 . 96185 . 99

Publication date: 4/17/2018


Seeka begins Australian kiwifruit shipments

New Zealand-headquartered company has sights set on growing exports from its Australian production base

Seeka has commenced its 2018 export programme for Australian-grown green kiwifruit.

The first consignment was loaded at the company’s packhouse in Bunbartha on Wednesday afternoon (11 April), with the fruit expected to arrive with its customers by the end of the month.

Seeka expects to pick and pack around 1m trays of kiwifruit at its Bunbartha orchards this season. Roughly 25 per cent of the crop will be exported, with both green and gold fruit to be sent to customers in Asia, the UK and Europe.

The export component of Seeka’s Australian business is expected to significantly grow over coming seasons.

“Prior to Seeka’s purchase, the operation here in Bunbartha was heavily focused on supplying the domestic market,” Seeka Australia’s sales manager, Cameron Carter, told Asiafruit.

“A lot of the potential we see here is in growing our current and prospective business in international markets.”

After acquiring the orchard business and assets of Bunbartha Fruit Packers in 2015, Seeka has set about putting its own stamp on the 500ha operation, based near Shepparton in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley.

This has included the expansion of the site’s main packhouse and cold storage facility, along with the removal of some stonefruit crops grown across the multiple orchards that make up the property.

While still a major production base for pears, particularly the Nashi varieties, kiwifruit appears to be at the forefront of Seeka’s future plans for Bunbartha.

The NZX-listed company has invested in redeveloping many of the site’s established Hayward blocks, along with new greenfield developments and has even set up its own nursery to grow kiwifruit rootstock.

In a bid firmly aimed at fulfilling international demand, Seeka is also moving forward with its Seeka Gold kiwifruit variety, with the company set to harvest a small commercial crop for the first time this year.

“Almost all of the new development is focused on kiwifruit, with the majority of this geared towards gold,” Carter said. “We are also investing in organic [kiwifruit] production, for both green and gold.”

Read more about Seeka’s growing Australian business in the Winter edition of Produce Plus.


Author: Matthew Jones

Kiwfruit harvest kicks off after good kiwiberry and avocado seasons

The New Zealand kiwifruit harvest is commencing today at produce company, Seeka. It has just completed its Nashi and Packham pear harvests in Australia and avocado and kiwiberry harvests in New Zealand.

2018 has seen unsettled weather in New Zealand already with ex-tropical cyclone Gita having impacted in New Zealand's South Island and it was feared that the remnants of tropical cyclone Hola may have hit the Te Puke area on Monday, but the storm drifted to the east of the country. MetService said it would bring a short spell of wind, rain and larger swells, with possible severe weather in places. Now there is a new Cyclone Linda brewing in the Coral Sea in New Caledonia.

Michael Franks said that Seeka are ready to go with the new kiwifruit harvest. "We are at the end of a very good kiwiberry harvest, and having completed Seeka’s most successful avocado season ever. In the kiwiberry space around 1605 bins have been processed across Seeka’s new kiwiberry processing plant – a converted cherry grader. The machine has commissioned well, and provided Seeka and its growers with 5 times the capacity to pack. Its delivered a significantly better risk profile for our growers, particularly with the unsettled weather pattern. This is well up on last year’s approximate 1297 bins processed at Seeka. The first kiwifruit are now ready for harvest. The weather during the kiwifruit growing season has been very unsettled with less than ideal amounts of sunshine punctuated with heavy rain. The result is a very large size profile. Dry matters are comparatively low and we are closely monitoring the fruit to get it harvested when the criteria is achieved."

Last year Hayward [green] yields were low with big sizes, this season's yields are expected to be more normal and Seeka are expecting to pack between 29 million and 30 million trays, compared to last year's 25.5 million.

Seeka is currently recruiting for the season but there doesn't seem to be the usual numbers of backpackers registering as in previous years. This is a new phenomenon in New Zealand and in the Hawkes Bay, the apple packers are at crisis levels. "The labour situation is always a bit confused at this time of the year," according to Franks. "People sign up to three or four packhouses in the region and will go to the place that starts packing first, so it is hard to get a handle on the overall situation right now. The numbers seem ok but we are unsure about how it will pan out. Seeka does have innovative programs underway with Government departments to encourage out of region New Zealanders to work at Seeka including subsidised transport and specialist training. We also have our overseas workforces coming in
which we use to complement the local kiwi workers."

Seeka have two packhouses with Near-Infrared technology in the lines which scans fruit to measure dry matter levels. The gold kiwifruit must reach a certain threshold to be classed as Zespri class I fruit for export. The technology tries to segregate the specific sized fruit to ensure that the dry matter levels are sufficient to meet customer's demands. Once packed the fruit is rechecked to ensure it is at the level.

"Its tricky technology to employ, and as the fruit matures and the harvest continues the cameras and technology needs recalibrated. It is time consuming at a time when we are very busy. It is not possible to take the machine down for a whole day for recalibration. The whole process is expensive to the point where its economic benefits are marginal, but we do it because the market and growers expect it of us," said Franks.

"We anticipate a better crop volumes this season, up 4.5million trays on last year. Hayward will be better so we are expecting around 18 million conventional and organic trays and also a lift in the Sungold fruit, but we are conscious that it does have lower dry matter," stated Franks.

Meanwhile at Seeka Australia the financial performance last year was up significantly, mainly due to a very good kiwifruit harvest, but according to Franks, there is still room to improve. The focus in on production to get all varieties performing at their optimum. Last year the Nashi volume was down but they are predicting a bumper crop this year across all varieties. Seeka Australia has experienced unprecedented export demand for its kiwifruit. The orchards, while in a difficult growing environment, produce fruit of excellent taste and quality. The combination of high temperatures, high sunlight hours and strict quality standards has delivered an excellent kiwifruit, according to Franks. Export volumes are expected to surge by 60% with Seeka continuing to market through its dedicated European customers.

Seeka continues to invest; it is developing 60 hectares of new kiwifruit orchards as well as new pear varieties. The company has deployed new high-brix high yielding pears focused on its key Australian customers. These new exciting pears are intended to meet growing market demand and replace commodity pears.

For more information:
Michael Franks
Tel: +64 21 356 516

Article and Image Source:


Publication date: 3/14/2018
Author: Nichola McGregor

Italy: Kiwi producers worried in Lazio and Romagna

It's still too early to assess the damage, but the Latina area was hit quite hard after the frost of 2017. The situation is worrying in Emilia-Romagna as well, while Piedmont and Veneto seem to be doing better. Luckily temperatures under plastic films have remained higher.

Giampaolo Dal Pane, President of Consorzio Dorì Europe, stresses that "it's essential to cover crops with anti-rain nets. It's better to have a couple of hectares less but to cover the rest. On 28th February, the temperature in cover-less crops in a Latina company dropped to -7.5°C, while that in a covered one only reached -4°C. The same happened in Romagna: -10°C outside and -6°C under nets."

"We'll need to make an assessment, but things are not looking good. The frost may have damaged bark as well, making it easier for the Psa bacteria to penetrate."

There is no great difference between the sensitivity to frost of green and yellow varieties, except for the fact that yellow kiwis are usually earlier. Latina hadn't seen such low temperatures for decades. An 8-hectare orchard in Aprilia was destroyed as the supporting structure of the nets collapsed under the weight of the snow.

In the Ravenna province, the temperature dropped to -10°C. Some left their fans on all night long, but it's still unsure whether they work with such a widespread cold front.

And it's useless mentioning insurances, as they don't cover this period.

Publication date: 3/5/2018


Kiwi fruit imports flat as locals rise to task

KIWI fruit imports are estimated to be down on last year but New Zealand remains the biggest competitor with scope to amp up its production.

Figures from Rural Bank Ag Answers show imports were forecast to be 21,966 tonnes for last year, a 14 per cent drop on the previous year.

Rural Bank Ag Answers said the reduction in imports into Australia last year was due to local production increases and flattening demand. The figures show almost three quarters of imported Kiwi fruit is from New Zealand and Ag Answers estimates there was further scope to grow if there was demand, with import volumes increasing from 15,617 tonnes in 2015 to 18,569 in 2016.

“Should demand continue to rise, it would be reasonable to assume extra Kiwi fruit would continue to come from New Zealand at the current price point,” Ag Answers said.

According to the New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers, the total volume grown across the Tasman was down from 145 million trays in 2016 to 125 million last year.

ASB rural economist Nathan Penny told The Weekly Times in areas where farms had the ability to switch between horticulture and dairy, farmers were opting to choose horticulture — particularly Kiwi fruit — due to declining milk prices.

Australian Horticultural Exporters’ and Importers’ Association chief executive Dominic Jenkin said last year Australia imported about 23,500 tonnes of Kiwi fruit from New Zealand and Italy alone, slightly above Rural Bank’s forecast.

“It was pretty flat, only about 1 per cent growth on the year prior,” Mr Jenkin said.

He said Australia exported about 970 tonnes, or about “45 containers worth.”

Australia imports about 65 per cent of kiwifruit requirements to meet demand, mostly from New Zealand and Italy.

The imported fruit is usually sold at a discount to local fruit, with the average price last year for a 10 kilogram box being $28.10, in comparison to $35.64 for Victorian Kiwi fruit.

The price for both lifted last year from $18.81 for a 10kg box of imported fruit in 2016 and $25.60/box of Victorian fruit.

Victorian fruit reached a high of nearly $50 for a 10kg box in April last year.

Demand in Australia for Kiwi fruit has grown 8.8 per cent since 2014.

LYNDAL READING, The Weekly Times

NZ: Spider found in Italian kiwifruit

Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH) in New Zealand has thanked a packhouse staff member who recently discovered a live spider in a carton of imported Italian kiwifruit, preventing what could have been a biosecurity risk.

In a release, KVH said the spider was spotted on fruit delivered to a packhouse by a fresh fruit importer which happened to have an employee with “eagle eyes”.

“It was photographed, captured, and reported through to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and KVH, who recently visited key fruit importers to raise awareness of biosecurity threats and highlight what they can do to mitigate risk,” KVH said.

“The importer also checked and confirmed that there weren’t any further spiders or other bugs in their produce. MPI have since ID’d the spider and confirmed no further action is required.

“Big congratulations to the packhouse and import staff involved for knowing what to do once they spotted something unusual and taking immediate action. The sooner MPI and KVH know of any possible biosecurity issue the sooner we can minimise any harm that might be done and make sure there is nothing for industry to worry about.”

In terms of phytosanitary risks, Italian kiwifruit has not had the best run in Australian either. According to the Australian Horticultural Exporters and Importers Association (AHEIA), almost half of Italy’s kiwifruit consignments sent to the country contained pests.

“The Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) has reviewed import data for Italian kiwifruit over a five year period from 2011 to 2016. This review identified that 47 percent of consignments were detected with quarantine pests over this period,” the association said.

“DAWR said that it has given this information to the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policies (MiPAAF) with expectation that this non-compliance will be investigated and corrective actions implemented to reduce pest non-compliance.

“DAWR may seek to impose a pre-shipment treatment (e.g. fumigation) on this import pathway should pest non-compliance not be significantly improved. This would likely affect the 2018-19 season.”


Climate change will make green kiwis unviable in Bay of Plenty

Kiwifruit growing of the main green variety will no longer be commercially viable in the Bay of Plenty in the future because of climate change according to Niwa.

By the end of this century, a study by Niwa has found that growers in the region may be unable to grow green hayward kiwifruit because of warmer winter temperatures. The study has just been published in the New Zealand Journal of Crop and Horticultural Science.

Kiwifruit requires winter chilling between May and July to produce high flower numbers in spring that result in fruit. High winter chilling, or colder sustained temperatures over this period, generally results in more flowers and an earlier flowering period so warmer temperatures could impact on kiwifruit production.

NIWA climate scientist Dr Andrew Tait said it was globally recognised that the effects of climate change was an emerging risk to the economic value of fruit crops, especially those grown in warm, temperate regions such as kiwifruit.

"Our study shows that kiwifruit production around Te Puke steadily decreases over coming decades. It will be marginal by 2050 and most likely not viable by 2100 under all but the most stringent of global greenhouse gas emission options."

Kiwifruit company Zespri has just come off a record growing 2016-17 year with about 93 million trays of green kiwifruit produced.

New Zealand kiwifruit exports were worth $1558 million in the year ending June 2016 – up from $930m the previous year. The Bay of Plenty is the centre of kiwifruit growing, producing more than 80 per cent of the crop.

"The risks of having insufficient winter chilling time with these warming winters is pressing. In the next few decades, it's going to be harder and harder to get the same level of productivity in and around Te Puke," Tait said.

Warming temperatures could also affect production in Northland, which would make the viability of growing kiwifruit harder and harder. Places further inland that have cooler winters would not be as badly affected and further south in the South Island and Canterbury could, by 2050, become viable places to grow kiwifruit if climate change is unchecked.

Tait hoped the study would provoke people to start thinking about land use over the long term.



Publication date: 9/15/2017