New Zealand - Fresh Deciduous Fruit Annual

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Warmer spring weather and an anticipated biennial bearing “on” year should ensure apple and pear production bounces back from 2011/2012’s poor growing season to record increases forecast at 5% to reach 481,000 MT and 14,200 MT for apples and pears respectively. Were it not for a hail storm and an unseasonal frost late in October in the Hawkes Bay and outbreaks of European Canker in the Nelson region the forecasts for total production could have been materially greater.

Grower returns are forecast to be slightly better in the 2011/2012 year but are still not anywhere near the level that would see unbridled optimism in the sector break out. Growers in the Nelson region (approx 30% of national production) are enduring the 4th or 5th loss in a row, and many are in precarious financial positions.

Greater apple production should, given domestic consumption is forecast to be stable, give rise to increased export shipments and an increase in processing tonnages. For apples, in 2012/2013 exports are forecast to reach 293,000 MT which would constitute a lift of 3.5% over the 2011/2012 year. Apple processing tonnage should rise by 9% to use 127,250 MT. Pears exports are forecast to bounce back from 3,000 MT in 2011/2012 to reach 4,200 MT in 2012/2013.

David Lee-Jones