With most apple picking having been finished at the end of April, this year’s season has not been without its setbacks. But despite all this, according to Gary Jones, business development manager for Apples and Pears NZ, “the season is going really well.” The Nelson Tasman region holds about 25% of New Zealand’s apple crops and crop estimates in the region are for 154,000 tonnes of fruit, which is 14.4% up on last year and export estimates are 102,000 tonnes, 13% up on last year. Braeburn, Jazz and Royal Gala being the largest volume of apple varieties for export.
Gary says, “the market is looking very strong in Europe and Asia, due to the catastrophic frost in the UK last year there is now a complete shortage of apples, so overall the markets are solid. There are some good varieties and good quality fruit going into the markets. This is the third year in a row that New Zealand is one of the world’s most competitive performers.” Nelson joined Hawkes Bay in experiencing a worrying shortage of fruit pickers for this year’s picking season, but Julian Raine, Wai-West Horticulture Ltd, is optimistic, “it’s definitely been a different season, it has had its fair share of challenges. Not often in Nelson do you have to wear your raincoat to pick apples, and we have had a shortage of staff which has created its own challenges within itself this year. But the total output volume is certainly up to expectation.” Gary says that the worker shortage will be addressed, with plans for a survey across the New Zealand apple industry, where they are looking to identify where there is a current labour shortage and how many extra workers we are we needing.

Spread the love.