New Zealand growers might have to consider hiring dedicated
freight aircraft to transport a possible 3000 tonnes of
cherries during the peak summer periods in the future,
Summerfruit New Zealand vice-chairman Tim Jones says.
''There are enough trees in the ground now [ready to come
into production], and if we have a nice kind spring and no
rain, we could have 2500 to 3000 tonnes of cherries,'' Mr
He said growers were reaching air freight capacity at the
current 1500 to 1700 tonnes.
Markets in South East Asia could easily take that sort of
volume and more.
It was important to better understand where the peaks were
and be smarter with air freight, he said.
At present, export fruit shares freight space with other
primary produce such as lobsters, and passengers.
''It won't necessarily be cheaper [than the current system]
as the plane would have to come to New Zealand empty.''
Freight, export markets and marketing were just three of the
topics discussed during the annual Summerfruit New Zealand
conference, which was held in Cromwell and Queenstown earlier
''The conference was our most successful yet,'' Mr Jones
''The turnout was close to 220 people at the dinner, when
normally we only get about 140 people.
''Grower attendance was fantastic, with many coming from
Hawkes Bay, Central Otago and Marlborough.''
Mr Jones said keynote speaker Dr Greg Lang, of Michigan State
University, opened the conference at The Nose, Cromwell, with
an outline of where the cherry industry was heading and
included a look at new planting systems being developed.
''A lot of growers bring staff so they can keep up with the
Speakers from Plant and Food Research as well as the New
Zealand Fruit Tree Company, discussed the latest research
projects before delegates had fun at the Highlands National
Thursday's sessions were held in Queenstown and focused on
marketing and the supply chain, meeting consumer requirements
and grower tools.
A hands-on seminar took place at 45 South orchard on Friday,
where about 100 delegates looked at new dwarf rootstock, new
growing systems, rain cover trials and upright shooting
offshoots or fruit walls.
''The highlight of this conference for me was the number of
people who attended, despite the cold weather,'' Mr Jones