HB apples ... boom or bust?

Considering what the industry went through last season, and the poor weather thus far this season, some would question whether any optimism is warranted for the region’s growers.


  Added one year ago

HB apples ... boom or bust?

Hawke’s Bay produces about 70% of the country’s apple crop, off some 4,700 hectares of orchards. NBRreporter Dita De Boni recently wrote a well-researched article (7 January) about the region’s apple industry, titled Apples resume course towards $1b in exports. [Available here to NBR subscribers.]

Its first paragraph: “It’s been said by many across the apple sector that the 2022 New Zealand apple harvest – roughly mid-February to the end of March – followed some of the worst growing conditions seen in the country since World War II.”

And then: “This year, the country’s apple sector may tip the $1 billion in exports if the stars align, the fruit don’t suffer from being water-logged, and the expected return of the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme and a smattering of other immigrant labour helps alleviate a severe shortage of pickers and packers.” 

De Boni notes that, while some expansion of plantings continues (notably Rockit), the focus now is on squeezing more value from the lands planted, boosting productivity and moving to more valuable IP-protected varieties.

Considering what the industry went through last season, and the poor weather thus far this season, some would question whether any optimism is warranted for the region’s growers.

Indeed some caution that a rainy February will be devasting to the region’s crop … and deadly to some growers.

De Boni writes that T&G Global, the nation’s biggest apple grower, expects to lose between $1m to $5m financial year ending 31 December 2022. Its apple revenue dropped $20m in 2021. Although a diversified T&G, with revenue in the $650m range, can weather the storm, smaller growers will go under.

What’s your take on the situation?

Fingers crossed for sunshine!


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