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NZ: Zespri responds to Chinese trade war speculation

New Zealand kiwifruit exporter Zespri says sales are on track to making China its number one market this year, after the government recently downplayed the likelihood of a trade war with the Asian giant.

The issue stems from reports of an application from Pacific Steel under World Trade Organization (WTO) rules calling for an investigation into alleged steel dumping from China in the New Zealand market. Zespri Shanghai 13

The local press has reported China’s Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Trade Policy (Mofcom) warned Zespri and other companies about possible retaliation against New Zealand primary industries including kiwifruit, wool and dairy.

Mofcom has denied the claims, and both New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and Trade Minister Todd McClay have urged the public not to get carried away with the hypothetical scenario of a Chinese reaction to a WTO dispute.

“Neither in Beijing nor in Wellington is there any indication from the Chinese authorities that there is an issue that would see them have retaliatory action, so the official line from the Chinese, and we accept that, is there is nothing to see here,” Key was quoted as saying on new site

“Market economies don’t do that with each other. WTO [World Trade Organisation] rules don’t allow it,” McClay was quoted as saying in newspaper the Otago Daily Times when asked about the possibility of retaliatory action from China.

In a statement, a Zespri spokesperson said the issue was being dealt with at a government-to-government level, and the company had full confidence in both governments on the issue.

“Two weeks ago, Zespri local staff in China received unsubstantiated information from an industry body in China on purported industry consultations related to the import of New Zealand agricultural products,” the spokesperson said.

“We passed on this information by email in line with our regular engagement with New Zealand Embassy officials in China through the normal course of business.

“Outside of this single communication, Zespri has no further information on this matter and reports that Zespri was called in for a meeting in Beijing or was in some way pressured by the Chinese government are false.”

The spokesperson highlighted Zespri’s business in China benefited from a “deep and mature relationship” between the two nations across both government and business.

“We are heartened to hear Minister McClay’s assurances today,” the spokersperson said in an email on Tuesday.

“Our 2016 selling season continues as normal and we’re on track to grow our China business by one-third this season, making it our number-one market with sales to reach around NZ$ 500 million. Zespri has no further comment to make on this matter.”


Zespri will take the new kiwi variety to Spain

Zespri will take the new kiwi variety to Spain

Zespri Iberica, subsidiary of New Zealand’s multinational engaged in the production and marketing of kiwifruit, has announced plans to introduce a new gold variety into the Spanish market in the next two or three years, the result of a project that is already very advanced.

The marketing manager of the company, Enrique Guío, announced the structure and Zespri’s objectives in the present and in the future. Today, the company sells three varieties of kiwi worldwide: Green (70%), Gold (26%) and organic (4%), but they only distribute the first two varieties in Spain.

“We want our product to arrive in the best possible quality to the customer, and we developed a strict control process called Zespri system,” said the Firm’s manager.

Source: Inforteail

Publication date: 6/25/2013

Zespri Chairman urges growers not to Kiwifruit Claim

Zespri Chairman urges growers not to Kiwifruit Claim

“I have written to growers today, as Chairman of Zespri, to say I do not support or agree with the approach taken by the group behind ‘The Kiwifruit Claim’,” stated Chairman of Zespri, Peter McBride.

He said the Statement of Claim is not even available yet for review. The architects of ‘The Kiwifruit Claim’ are seeking to sign up growers to a class action before they have had the opportunity to properly consider the legal merits of the claim and before the Statement of Claim has been filed. “I am extremely concerned that ‘The Kiwifruit Claim’ lacks transparency and fails to properly communicate the uncertainties surrounding the claim. Zespri completely rejects this approach, and believes that the profit which would be made by the litigation funder if the claim is successful reflects the high risk of the claim failing.”

He adds that this campaign has been launched through the media with no consultation with the industry.

“Psa caused immense damage to businesses and people, including myself. At its height it devastated peoples’ incomes, their assets, their savings, their life’s work and their self-esteem. It put immense pressure on people and families on orchards and in the wider community. But as an industry we’re well into the recovery from Psa and are firmly on a growth path.”

Orchard Gate Returns are strong and orchard land prices have not only recovered from the effects of Psa but are now higher than pre-Psa levels. Zespri is back on track to deliver on its plan to triple revenue to $ 3 Billion by 2025, and will continue to make increasing grower returns its number one priority.

“The last thing this industry needs right now is for the focus to be taken from growing our industry, and placed on a divisive, drawn out, and hugely expensive legal battle, especially given the poor process followed by ‘The Kiwifruit Claim’ and the uncertain legal basis of the case,” he continues.

“I believe that the industry will prosper by working with the Government, not against it. The industry is working collaboratively on a number of initiatives, such as the Government Industry Agreements, Research and Development, market access, free trade agreements, and Kiwifruit Vine Health, to protect and grow our industry.”

“Biosecurity is critical to our industry’s success, and I believe the best way to strengthen this system is to learn from experience and to work in partnership with the government. That is why the kiwifruit industry was the first to sign up to a Government-Industry Agreement on Biosecurity, and has an industry body set up to specifically focus on improving biosecurity outcomes.”

“Successive Governments have been an important partner to our industry. Our industry structure is a privilege granted to us by Government and creates huge value to New Zealand kiwifruit growers. This action will compromise the industry’s relationship with government.”

“Ultimately it is not Zespri’s place to tell growers whether they should sign up to this claim or not, that is entirely their decision. However growers at the very least deserve the people behind ‘The Kiwifruit Claim’ to be completely transparent about the risks – political, legal and financial – associated with this claim.”

Publication date: 10/2/2014

Zespri see huge potential in Asian market

“good consumer up-take of the new Gold variety across the board”
Zespri see huge potential in Asian market

Zespri are around 3/4 way through the marketing period of this season’s kiwi crop and according to Simon Limmer, General Manager Grower & Government Relations and General Manager China for Zespri. This is going really well, “All markets are looking really good, but the strongest growth this year has been in the Chinese market which has been stunning. Japan has once again been the cornerstone of our market. We have seen good consumer up-take of the new Gold variety across the board, which of course was our focus,” explains Simon Limmer.

Lewis Pan, Zespri’s manager in China with Simon Limmer – COO, Oliver Broad – Communications Manager and Peter M’Bride – Chairman.

The new SunGold variety has been a big hit in Asia with both the colour and sweet flavour appealing to consumers. Europeans are also responding positively to the new gold variety, “We are very exited about its potential growth. It has a flavour mix which is very appealing for both Asian and European palates, but the green variety is also performing very well across all markets as we focus hard on taste and quality here to.”

In 2011 Psa decimated 70% of New Zealand’s gold kiwi production, at that time Zespri had a 70/30 green to gold ratio. The bulk of the 30m trays of gold production was lost, with only 11m trays produced that year, according to Limmer, Zespri is now back to 20m trays this year and growth recovery is progressing very well.

“In the future we will have a 50-50 balance between green and gold, it may take 3-4 years to get there but recovery is happening very quickly. We think a good balance is the right thing to do. The gold variety has certainly driven a lot of value for the growers over the last 10 years and is poised to continue strongly in coming years.”

40% of Zespri’s total grower base was growing gold in 2010 compared to 60% now, this is quite a substantial shift. Limmer explains that it is good to have a balanced portfolio both from an orchard management point of view, de-risking it from for example, Psa, it also lessens the commercial risk.

A 12 month supply is one of the main strategies for Zespri, “We are reasonably well established in Italy, France, Japan and Korea. All of which had their own issues with Psa and are going through the recovery process, but we are very exited about those countries as potential supply areas. China is producing around half the world’s kiwi fruit at the moment, around 1.3 m tons, which it consumes domestically. Its only a matter of time as quality standards and management practises improve and varieties come to the fore, before it becomes a more premium product for the Chinese market and potentially beyond the Chinese shores. We are very focussed on that and working to see what it could mean for us in the future, but may be a few years away yet.”

Limmer goes on to say that they are looking at opportunities for growth, especially with gold volumes increasing. He expects that because China is so exiting it could take a lot of their focus. Although all of Zespri’s markets are growing quite strongly and will continue to do so over the next few years, South America is also growing especially Brazil, where there is huge potential and the kiwi is well adapted for this market.

Other growth markets include South East Asia really where Zespri are seeing a good growth from a low base. India has big opportunities given the population, difficult logistics, infrastructure and retail environment. Zespri are currently doing small amounts there with a commercial arrangement which is working well according to Limmer. “There are lots of exiting big places with potential, we are poised for the next few years of strong growth and investment is going on.”

Publication date: 9/17/2014
Author: Nichola Watson

NZ: Greenlees to leave Zespri

NZ: Greenlees to leave Zespri

The founding director of Zespri is stepping down from the board after 15 years’ service to the kiwifruit industry.

Craig Greenlees will not seek re-election as a grower-director at Zespri’s annual general meeting in Tauranga on Wednesday, July 23.

He was a founding member of Zespri Group and has served on the Zespri board since it was incorporated in 2000 and was chairman of the Zespri board between 2002 and 2008.

Prior to Zespri being corporatised, Craig was a director of Kiwifruit New Zealand and is also a past vice-president of New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc.

His position on the board is being contested by Paul Jones and Doug Voss. Doug is a former Zespri chairman and organic kiwifruit grower. Paul is a director of post-harvest and kiwifruit management company DMS.

Also seeking places on the board are Hillary Brick, a grower and international produce marketing specialist, and sitting director and grower Nathan Flowerday, who at 35 is the youngest director elected to the board.

David Pilkington has been a Zespri Group Ltd Independent Director since 2005 and is the only candidate for a third vacancy on the board.


Publication date: 7/18/2014

Zespri Gold3 licence allocation significantly oversubscribed

Zespri Gold3 licence allocation significantly oversubscribed

Th Zespri Board has announced that 1,130 hectares of licences for the more Psa-tolerant gold kiwifruit cultivar Gold3 will be allocated to Zespri growers in 2013, as the next step in the Psa recovery pathway – 288 hectares more than was originally intended for allocation.  This includes 688 hectares of new gold licences for Green growers and new developments, as well as 442 hectares of Gold One-for-One licences, where Hort16A growers can transfer to Gold3.  

Zespri Chairman Peter McBride says the significant over-subscription clearly demonstrates the confidence the kiwifruit industry has in the recently-licensed gold cultivar, its performance to date in the Psa environment and growers increasingly looking to diversify their orchard portfolios.

“Following this licensing round, around 60 percent of New Zealand kiwifruit growers will grow at least one Zespri licensed variety, showing the continued transformation of the industry from its historical reliance on Hayward to increasing diversification of cultivars at orchard level,” Mr McBride said. 

“We think it is important to allow growers the opportunity to diversify into Gold, but we also need to take the total supply picture into account.  Our intention has been to build Gold supply towards 60 million trays and this year’s allocation almost gets us there.  

“This means we will probably need to reduce next year’s fixed bid area and change the allocation rules so growers who have not had the opportunity to participate in the fixed bid process are preferred over other bidders for next year’s licensing round.”

“In the meantime, Zespri will also modify the grafting restrictions and allow growers to delay grafting this year if they prefer, so we have a more phased increase in future volumes. Growers who elect to defer grafting until after 2014 will also be able to defer their licence payments for an additional year.”

Zespri senior management will review their medium- and long-term planning in light of this year’s allocation and will present this work to the Board to determine future allocation plans. 

Mr McBride said the Board and Executive expect to be in a position to discuss the situation with growers through the August grower meetings.

This licence allocation builds on last year’s release of 2,352 hectares, bringing the total amount of Gold3 licensed hectares in New Zealand to 3,972.  The Gold3 recovery pathway aims to rebuild the Gold category and grow Gold volumes beyond pre-Psa levels. 

“Zespri is building up Gold volumes in response to the medium- and long-term demand we see from emerging markets,” Mr McBride said.

Gold3 is a kiwifruit variety sold in 2010 by Zespri after 10 years of development and is marketed internationally under the name SunGold.  It was selected from the extensive Zespri and Plant & Food Research new variety programme for its qualities of high orchard yields, handling characteristics, storage and positive appeal to consumers determined through in-market sensory work over consecutive seasons.

Subsequent to its commercial release, Gold3 has, to date, shown a greater level of tolerance to Psa than the original Zespri Gold variety, Hort16A. This level of Psa tolerance combined with Gold3’s commercial qualities has made it the cornerstone of the recovery pathway from Psa and this year Gold3 comprises around 20 percent of Zespri’s total Gold volume.

“This spring is a critical period for us to understand how well Gold3 can produce in a Psa environment and while it is clear growing in the Psa environment will be challenging, the demand for Gold3 licences this year is testimony to an emerging confidence by growers in the variety,” Mr McBride said.

There are currently no Psa-resistant kiwifruit varieties and the industry continues to rely on proactive orchard management and scientific innovation to find new ways of growing productively in a Psa environment.

“It’s important to note that it is only thanks to the unified structure of the kiwifruit industry and the resilience of its growers that we’ve been able to make this pace of progress,” Mr McBride said.

For more information:
Rachel Lynch
Tel: +64 027 509 1805
[email protected]

Publication date: 6/19/2013

Zespri CFO resigns

Zespri CFO resigns

Zespri’s resigning chief financial officer Mervyn Dallas is a stalwart for grower interests and well respected in the industry, says New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc CEO Mike Chapman.

Mervyn’s resignation from Zespri’s top financial position was announced yesterday, and he’s due to leave the position in June after 12 years with the company, the last eight as CFO. Zespri’s chief financial officer Mervyn Dallas leaves the company in June.

Mike says he does not know the reasons for Mervyn’s resignation but believes they are personal. Linking the resignation to Serious Fraud Office investigations into a customs case against Zespri in China is unfair, says Mike.

He is referring to a report by the National Business Review online report today which says: “Mr Dallas’ term as chief financial officer coincided with difficulties for Zespri with Customs duties from such places as Korea, China and Taiwan, leading to multi-million dollar fines for Zespri and a prison conviction of a subsidiary employee.”

However, Mervyn’s said his resignation was totally unrelated to these factors, NBR Online reported.

Mervyn is not available for comment but Zespri CEO Lain Jager, currently overseas, has released a statement saying Mervyn has the respect and support of the industry.  “Given what he has achieved in his 12 years, Merv’s decision to leave and seek new opportunities makes absolute sense and he will go with a huge amount of support and best wishes from those who have worked closely with him during his time here,” says Lain.


Publication date: 4/9/2014