The New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture is predicting a return to growth for the apple industry following a 6% reduction in growing area between 2002 and 2005.

Many growers are also replacing less marketable varieties as new nursery stock becomes available. Intensive tree spacing and management of these new orchards will result in earlier bearing.

Projected returns each season to 2009-1010 are $NZ23.90, $NZ24.60 and $NZ25 per carton FOB with exports rising to 15 million cartons.