Good returns are expected in the pipfruit industry this year
following a record season last year, Pipfruit New Zealand
chief executive officer Alan Pollard says.
Mr Pollard was one of the keynote speakers at the two-day
Pipfruit New Zealand conference in Queenstown last week, and
visited three Central Otago orchards and one winery with
delegates during a field day after the conference.
The conference built on the Pipfruit New Zealand strategic
plan, which was released at last year's conference and
outlined how to achieve a goal of developing the pipfruit
industry into a $1 billion export industry by 2022, Mr
He said last year was a record year for the pipfruit industry
- reaching 550,000 tonnes in total production, 320,000 tonnes
for export and export returns of $500 million.
Pipfruit was a biennial crop - with a large-volume year
followed by a smaller-volume year - but although this year
was an ''off year'', exports were still expected to be more
than 300,000 tonnes. It was likely that, despite the lower
volume, returns would be similar to or better than last year,
Mr Pollard said.
Central Otago was an important part of the industry,
contributing about 4% by volume and being an important
employer and important contributor to the Central Otago
economy, he said.
There was a lot of positivity in the industry.
''This is evidenced by the investment by Turners and
Growers/Baywa in Apollo Apples in the Hawkes Bay, the
successful float of Scales Corporation, and the amount of
investment in new tree plantings and post-harvest technology.
The industry is going through transformational change and the
future looks very bright.''
The biggest growth opportunities were in Asia, but as many
exporters shifted their focus to Asia that also created
opportunities to fill the void that would be left in New
Zealand's traditional markets of Europe, the United Kingdom
and the United States, Mr Pollard said.
The Queenstown conference featured presentations about new
science and research that would keep New Zealand ahead of its
competition, new varieties that were coming through
Pipfruit's breeding programme and the ''new era of
biosecurity which is very topical right now'', he said.
''The pipfruit sector is about to become the second
horticultural sector behind kiwifruit to sign up to
Government Industry Agreements (GIA), where government and
industry work together to deliver the best biosecurity
The conference also featured presentations from Ministry of
Foreign Affairs and Trade and Ministry for Primary Industries
representatives, including Minister for Primary Industries
Nathan Guy as well as presentations from Bendigo Station
owner John Perriam and Wine New Zealand chief executive
officer Philip Gregan, who talked about the story of merino
wool and New Zealand wine respectively.
''The stories are similar to the New Zealand apple story -
that is that nature has delivered us the best growing
conditions in the world climatically and geographically. And
the New Zealand industry has added New Zealand-developed
science, research and innovation to become the best growers
in the world producing the best apples in the world,'' Mr
Those attending the conference also visited Jackson Orchards
in Cromwell, McIntosh's Orchard in Earnscleugh, the Van der
Voort orchard in the Teviot Valley, and Hinton Estate Winery
The annual Pipfruit New Zealand award for Outstanding
Contribution to the Industry was given to Dr Mike Butcher,
the technical manager at Pipfruit New Zealand.
''Dr Butcher is retiring this year, but his contribution to
the industry is immeasurable and his efforts have transformed
the industry,'' Mr Pollard said.
- by Pam Jones