Harvesting 12,000 hectares of kiwifruit

Kiwifruit harvesting is set to begin this month. File Photo.

There is increasing activity in New Zealand's kiwifruit orchards this month as the picking and packing of kiwifruit gets underway.

Over 2500 growers will be harvesting some 12,000 hectares of kiwifruit, which will be marketed to over 50 countries.

Small volumes have just begun to be harvested in Northland and Poverty Bay and will extend throughout the North Island and top of the South Island over the coming weeks.

Harvest is expected to begin in the next few days in the Bay of Plenty where around 80 per cent of New Zealand's kiwifruit are grown.

The harvest of the SunGold variety for this season is expected to be significantly more than the harvest last year, while the green Hayward variety is forecasted to be less.

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc. chairperson Doug Brown says although the total volumes are slightly down from last season, it's still shaping up to be a good harvest.

“New Zealand has some of the best growing conditions in the world for kiwifruit and we are looking forward to more good volumes. Many areas were affected by wet weather which has delayed the start of harvest, but most of us can now roll up our sleeves and get picking and packing. I would also like to take this opportunity to wish all growers a happy and safe harvest.”

Around 10,000 permanent workers are employed in the kiwifruit industry with an additional 8000 seasonal workers who pick and pack kiwifruit. Of these seasonal workers, a small minority are Recognized Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers who play a crucial role, as labour shortages are a real problem for the kiwifruit industry around the peak of harvest time.

The kiwifruit industry is recovering from being hit by Psa in 2010 and has been growing strongly with Zespri's total sales returns for the 2015/16 season around $2 billion dollars. As New Zealand's largest fresh fruit horticultural export, the kiwifruit industry also profits the regions where it is grown, for example, bringing around $910 million to the Bay of Plenty annually.


kiwifruit wages

Posted on 17-03-2017 10:18 | By phoenix

I'm with you old trucker, Fruit pickers we employed 3or4 years ago,were earning over $200.oo per day, because they were prepared to put in the effort,and were more than happy how they were treated and thankful for the opportunity given.

Gosh Golly

Posted on 16-03-2017 18:20 | By GreertonCynic

The shortage is due to the p!ss poor wages and conditions offered by the packing companies. Being an ex engineer in the industry I've seen first hand the way they treat their employees. One unnamed packhouse trained up a person to run our tipper/infeed system on minimum wage. Next season they wanted a $1/hr wage rise. Sacked. The replacement, whilst being trained, caused over $20k damage to the equipment. False economy. I have NO issue with someone refusing the slave labour conditions that these companies inflict on the less well off.

golly gosh

Posted on 15-03-2017 20:49 | By old trucker

There should be NO labour shortage at this time, for GOODNESS sake (WINZ) all these bludgers on the dole should be put to work at this time, if you do not want to do Kiwifruit we will STOP YOUR BENEFIT, FULLSTOP.NO EXCUSES(BUT) you wont cause they say ive got a paper cut and you will believe them,Gosh this is so silly about labour shortage,gee whiz im beside myself about labour, gosh people come from all walks of life to do this job and we have all the BLUDGERS on the dole,Phew,Thankyou for up todate news SUNLIVE,10-4 out.

state the obvious....

Posted on 15-03-2017 17:20 | By tga resident

This is the kiwi fruit industry, fruit grows, it gets picked and it gets packed and then it gets sold. It's called kiwi fruit season and it happens year in and year out. What shall we expect reports on next....hot cross buns and Easter eggs on sale.

$910 Million

Posted on 15-03-2017 17:06 | By GreertonCynic

Imagine the return to the community if the industry paid a decent wage to their workers, not just management.

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