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District’s kiwifruit harvest valued at over $50 million

The annual kiwifruit harvest has almost been completed and growers and exporters have expressed their satisfaction at the quality and quantity of this year's crop worth around $50 million.

They have also breathed a sigh of relief when it comes to the amount of labour available to carry out the harvest.

The last of the gold kiwifruit were picked a fortnight ago and there remains about three weeks of work to harvest the last of the green variety.

Tim Tietjen, the NZ Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated Gisborne representative, said the labour situation was “tight”.

“But we managed to get through and the high degree of co-operation between growers certainly helped.”

Bill Thorpe, from NZ Fruits, said they got through the harvest with the labour available.

“We certainly did not have the labour issues they had over in the Bay of Plenty.”

The fruit quality and quantity was right where they wanted it to be, Mr Tietjen said.

“We've had good yields and good taste, particularly taste-wise with the green kiwifruit.

A rough estimate of gold kiwifruit trays out of Gisborne would be slightly over four million. Each tray weighs about 3.5 kilograms so it's about 14,000 tonnes of fruit.

“Each tray is worth about $12 to the grower (orchard gate return/OGR) so the value of the kiwifruit crop is over $50 million to the district's growers,” Mr Tietjen said.

Another local grower said it had been “a great season”.

“We got most of the harvest done early. It was tight when it came to the labour situation but we got there and we're very grateful for all the help we got to get the harvest done.”

More than 300 hectares of kiwifruit was harvested around the Gisborne district this season — up on last year — and another 100ha is under development.

The New Zealand kiwifruit industry planned to harvest 100 million trays of Sungold and 74 million trays of the green variety over the season.

About 80 million trays of gold and 20 million of green have been harvested.

Several shipments of kiwifruit have already gone out of the district for the season and three more are scheduled — one later this month, one in June and one in mid-July.