WITH the early start to this year’s kiwifruit season, Eastern Bay packhouses have taken in the last of the region’s crop as harvest ends.
Opotiki Eastpac site manager Shane Carberry said pickers and packers had an unusually long work season this year as conditions were ideal for an early start and bountiful harvest.
“We’ve picked the last of the fruit today, so we’ll be packing for another couple of days and then start on maintenance,” he said last Thursday.
Kiwifruit marketer Zespri said last month that the industry was experiencing the most profitable season to date. They predict sales to top the $3 billion mark for the first time.
Mr Carberry said along with all the other advantages to the season, the quality of the fruit has been up to par.
“We’ve had no issues; the quality of the fruit is good. We’ve managed pretty well,” he said.
Zespri announced that total fruit and service payments, including the loyalty premiums, to New Zealand growers was up 24 percent to $1.82 billion, while average orchard gate returns to growers increased by 6 percent to $63,622 a hectare for green kiwifruit, by 28 percent to $145,991 per hectare for SunGold, by 40 percent to $73,350 for Green Organic and by 14 percent to $44,549 a hectare for Sweet Green.