July 12, 2004
New Zealand's Ministry of
Agriculture and Forestry’s (MAF) 2004 Farm Monitoring report
into horticultural production identifies a period of
rationalisation in the sector, with small growers leaving the
industry while remaining growers are increasing their land
MAF’s Policy Group runs the annual monitoring process to examine
the production and financial status of farms in terms of the
cash income and expenditure. Trends, issues and sector concerns
are also monitored.
The model orchards and vineyards depicted in the report are
representative of their type within their regions. Growing
operations around New Zealand have been examined, and
information for each model is drawn from 20 real growers, and
discussions with a wide cross-section of agribusiness.
The report finds that the value of horticultural exports
decreased marginally by one percent in the year ending March
2003 to $2.09 billion, due to lower values for kiwifruit, fresh
vegetables and processed vegetables. The main earners were
kiwifruit ($564 million), apples ($380 million), processed
vegetables ($275 million), wine ($275 million) and fresh
vegetables ($251 million).
The report’s author, senior policy analyst Duane Redward, says
climatic conditions have had varying impacts on the sectors,
highlighting their reliance on the weather.
“While kiwifruit production was up significantly (13 percent),
and the wine industry produced a record vintage of between
150,000 and 170,000 tonnes, process and fresh vegetable crops,
together with apiculture, were significantly affected by the
February floods,” Duane Redward explains.
“Five hundred and fifteen hectares of potatoes, 1,400 hectares
of squash, 200 hectares of onions, 22 hectares of asparagus, 44
hectares of carrots and 2,000 beehives were destroyed. And heavy
rains in December and February affected the quality of
vegetables, summerfruit and berryfruit.”
The report says both the kiwifruit and wine industries have
difficult selling seasons ahead due to big increases in
production resulting in increased supply.
Most export sectors experienced downward pressure on prices due
to the increased New Zealand dollar/US dollar exchange rate.
Confidence levels, however, are high in the kiwifruit and
apiculture industries due to a period of favourable returns.
Duane Redward says all the industries monitored are continuing
to experience problems in recruiting both skilled and unskilled