The 2010 kiwifruit season looks likely to enjoy similar success to 2009, with today`s harvest echoing last year`s early start to the season. Early indications on the volume, quality and taste of the fruit also suggest that 2010 will be another good year for the New Zealand kiwifruit industry.

Some growers began harvesting ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit today, while ZESPRI® GREEN Kiwifruit and ZESPRI® GREEN ORGANIC Kiwifruit growers will begin harvesting their fruit in a few weeks time.

Confidence is high from growers and ZESPRI grower, Doug Brown, who grows both GREEN and GOLD Kiwifruit, said that overall, the coming season looks very positive.

“I`m looking forward to a good season. Our GOLD Kiwifruit taste great and GREEN looks good too.”

ZESPRI Shipping Manager, Mike Knowles, said the first ZESPRI® Kiwifruit shipments will leave New Zealand in late March, destined for ZESPRI`s key markets of Europe and Japan, in time to capitalise on the buzz generated by early season marketing programmes.

Director Corporate and Grower Services, Carol Ward, said it is an exciting time for the New Zealand kiwifruit industry coming off the back of a successful 2009 season.

“I`ve recently attended a number of grower meetings and it was fantastic to see the positive feeling across the industry, heading into the 2010 season. Worldwide, people are beginning to recover from the economic downturn which bodes well for our industry.

ZESPRI is currently assessing four new kiwifruit varieties – one early and two long-life gold varieties and an earlier, sweeter green kiwifruit.

Harvesting of these new kiwifruit varieties commenced on 4 March 2010 and rigorous harvest, packing, storage and in-market tests are currently underway to ensure ZESPRI has enough robust information to make a commercialisation decision in June 2010.

ZESPRI is also currently seeking industry input on potential licence allocation mechanisms.

In the coming months, around 25,000 people, mostly seasonal workers, will be employed by the New Zealand kiwifruit industry to harvest, pack and ship ZESPRI GREEN, GOLD and GREEN ORGANIC Kiwifruit, injecting millions of dollars into the New Zealand economy.

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