Forecast for 2024 apple and pear harvest up after challenging years
The annual apple and pear crop estimate from New Zealand Apples and Pears forecasts the national crop to be up 12 per cent on the 2022 crop total, a rebound from the 2023 crop total that suffered significant damage from Cyclone Gabrielle.
Export volume is estimated at 21.2 million boxes, known in the industry as tray carton equivalents or 382,000 metric tonnes. The fruit is expected to have excellent size, colour, eating and flavour properties, and higher dry matter, which enables better storage of the fruit.
Karen Morrish CEO of New Zealand Apples and Pears says the favourable forecast, after an incredibly tough few years with economic losses due to COVID-19 and Cyclone Gabrielle, is down to near-perfect growing conditions and hard work.
“The weather conditions in all growing regions have been excellent, with the warm and dry conditions pipfruit needs. From Gisborne down to Central Otago, spring and summer conditions have set the trees up with a typical crop load of high-quality fruit with exceptional eating quality.
“While conditions have been great, the season’s expected success is also down to sheer hard work. Growers work hard every season, but for those impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle, the past year has been tough and continues to be tough for those still recovering. Many growers had to dig their orchards out of silt, so it is amazing and surprising to see where we are today after where we were a year ago. Apple trees have proved to be resilient and so too are our growers.
“New Zealand apples and pears are the best in the world. Our industry is world-leading, with home-grown innovations in orcharding and the development of exciting new fruit varieties. Our fruit is healthy and sustainable – good for people and the planet. We should be really proud of this.”