New Zealand kiwifruit growers are looking forward to a similar-sized crop to last year.
Trade estimates point to 80 million cartons, comprising about two thirds traditional green varieties, as well as golden and organically produced kiwis.
Growing conditions have been good, improving eating quality compared with 2004, said growers. An expected increase in demand should offset higher shipping costs.
A further sign of increasing confidence in the industry is the increase in new vines planted in New Zealand. However, trade sources still expect continuing fierce competition from established sources, such as Italy, and newer entrants to the market, particularly China.
Additional varieties, including a yellow-fleshed and a hairless fruit, are undergoing trials around the world. In New Zealand, HortResearch has developed a new arguta, similar to a baby kiwi, with an edible skin. It has been dubbed as the ‘kiwiberry’, but commercial production is still years away.