New Zealand's apples and pears are the best in the world. CEO of New Zealand Apples and Pears, Karen Morrish, said pipfruit is healthy and sustainable, good for people and the planet.
New Zealand Apples and Pears promotes and represents the New Zealand apple and pear industry, the growers, packers, and marketers in domestic and export markets, and leads national research and development for the industry.
Ensuring New Zealand fruit has access to international markets is a significant part of their role, including supporting growers with international certification standards and developing access to new markets.
New Zealand Apples and Pears conducts significant research and development, and the industry's success relies upon being at the forefront of science and innovation. Research and development supports and addresses changing market requirements for more than 80 international markets for more than 80 international markets that growers can export to, and it keeps us abreast of biosecurity risks and the effects of climate change.
Morrish said that the organisation also supports the industry through information, seminars, workshops, and conferences to support its members to be the best apple and pear growers worldwide.
As a significant part of New Zealand's primary sector, valued at NZ$900 million annually, the sector can hit a NZ$2 billion net worth of export. However, this potential has been impacted by the effects of Cyclone Gabrielle.
The industry currently, and moving forward, is facing unprecedented change and challenge, from cyclones devastating its crops to increasing input costs, regulations, and compliance.
"It has been a tough time in the industry, but we are rising to the challenge, committing to high standards and leading with sustainability and innovation."
Morrish said getting the basics right for the apples and pears industry with positive policy decisions was imperative. Without the right policy and regulatory setting, growers cannot grow.
"Growers need an environment where their businesses can productively operate, providing employment, food security for New Zealanders, and contributing to export success."
While the industry's fruit continues to experience high domestic and international demand, recognised as the most sustainably grown apples and pears globally, New Zealand grower's national crop average is approximately down 21 percent due to Cyclone Gabrielle.
Replanting requires an amount of time and money. Unaffected fruit from orchards in the Hawkes Bay region and outside has been picked, packed, and distributed.
"Only the best fruit makes it to market, whether in New Zealand or internationally."
In 2022, New Zealand Apples and Pears began its largest industry research project, a NZ$15 million, seven-year programme backed by the government, named Smart and Sustainable. The Smart and Sustainable project involves horticulture research and science experts working to reduce agricultural application by 50 percent by 2030 through targeted and smart technology. This includes real-time sensors for detecting pests and diseases, enabling early intervention without spraying.
"Ensuring our fruit is sustainable starts with embracing nature at the same time as using the latest technology."
Prevar, a joint venture between New Zealand Apples and Pears, Plant and Food Research and Apples and Pears Australia, has continued to lead global pipfruit innovation by developing and commercialising apple and pear cultivars from its base in Hastings.
"Prevar has commercialised six apple varieties, Rockit, Smitten, Sweetie, Lemonade, Dazzle and Cherish, and the pear variety PiqaBoo."
Morrish explained that new varieties are bred to enhance taste and texture and with improved grower traits like tolerance to pests and diseases.
Moving through to 2024, Morrish said that growers and those affected by the extreme weather events will continue the effort towards recovering and rebuilding.
This is also a time to ensure the industry rebuilds and reinvests resilient and innovatively.
The pipfruit industry works to innovate and grow every season. The pipfruit industry is an exciting one. It works hard on its research and development projects, accessing new global markets, building its workforce, supporting its growers and engaging with its consumers. It has proudly established itself as a leader in New Zealand and worldwide.
New Zealand Apples and Pears is a non-profit, incorporated society governed by a board of elected representatives from growers members and independent directors elected by its members, who are its growers.
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