The New Zealand export of fresh fruit and vegetables has grown considerably in 2015 compared to the previous year. This is shown in figures from Fruit and Vegetables Facts. In total New Zealand was able to sell 1.27 million tonnes of fresh fruits and vegetables abroad in the last year. This was a record with an increase of 18%.
“New Zealand is clearly looking for other sales markets,” according to Jan kees Boon’s findings. “The main growth markets are in Asia, such as China, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates and India.” The export of New Zealand leans very heavily on kiwis. In value the share of kiwis is 56% and in amount over 40%. The export of kiwis in 2015 was an all time high record.
Apples are the other large product, with a share (in amount) of slightly less than 30%. The apple export in 2015 was the largest in the last ten years. There was more in 2004.
40% to South and East Asian countries; Europe’s share decreases
The trend of New Zealand focusing more and more on Asian countries continued in 2015. Last year the export to countries in South and East Asia increased by over 30% to 630,000 tonnes. This raises the share of countries in this region to half. In 2010 this was still 40%. The export to the EU has decreased strongly in the last ten years. In 2015 there was a recovery, but the 426,000 tonnes wasn’t as much as before when there were years that over half a million tonnes were exported to the EU. New Zealand exports to a lot of countries. Last year more than 1000 tonnes was exported to over 50 countries.
Japan as the main buyer
When looking at individual countries Japan is the main buyer of fresh fruits and vegetables from New Zealand. Last year the export to Japan increased by almost a quarter to 205,000 tonnes. More was exported to Japan in 2005 but it was increasingly less in the year in-between.
Kiwis might be the main product exported to Japan, but proportionally a lot of onions and courgettes go to Japan. And very few apples. Last year not even 2,000 tonnes. Belgium is the second buyer of New Zealand fruits and vegetables. This isn’t immediately apparent from figures from the New Zealand export statistics, but “EU, nes” is mainly export to Belgium. This is clear when we place Eurostat figures next to them. According to this source almost 350,000 tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables from New Zealand were imported of which 120,000 tonnes in Belgium.
China emerging strongly
China is emerging strongly as a buyer of New Zealand fruit and vegetables. In 2015 it was already over 100,000 tonnes. This was more than a doubling in a years time. The export to China is mainly kiwis and apples. Taiwan is the fourth buyer and the Netherlands follows as fifth. In the (direct) export to the Netherlands onions are the main product with apples second. Kiwis don’t go to the Netherlands directly. The New Zealand kiwis eaten in a lot of Western and Northern Europe come in through Belgium. Other important New Zealand buyers are: the United Kingdom (2015: 62,000 tonnes), the United States (60), Spain (54), Korea (50), Thailand (43), Australia (43) and Indonesia (30).
Record year for kiwi export ; export value of over a billion US dollars.
2015 was a record year for the export of New Zealand kiwis. For the first time the export reached above half a million tonnes. With 516,000 tonnes it was even considerably more. Both years before the export remained under 400,000 tonnes. It was more before this. New Zealand is selling more and more kiwis in Asian countries. In 2015 the New Zealanders managed to sell a third more in this part of the world. In individual countries Belgium is still the main country with (according to Eurostat) over 100,000 tonnes. Japan is the second buyer and China is the third. Spain, in fourth place, is also an important buyer. Striking is the strong growth in export to Taiwan. The ratio in export between green fleshed and gold fleshed kiwis is around 70/30. In 2013 and 2014 proportionally less gold fleshed kiwis were exported. A comparatively large amount of green ones go to Europe. The ‘golden’ kiwis mainly go to Japan and China.
Revival of export of apples and by new sales markets
Traditionally New Zealand is an important exporter of apples. For an export as large as in the previous year we have to go back to 2004.
In recent years New Zealand has been able to revive the export through the introduction of new varieties. This isn’t just for the sales in Europe. They were a bit smaller in 2015 compared to the year before. What mainly stands out is the strong growth in export to the region of south and east Asia. Last year there was an increase of 45% and on average over the last 5 years the export to that region increased by 24% per year. Thailand is the main buyer in that region, but the growth in export to Taiwan, China and India is spectacular as well. For now the United Kingdom is the most important buyer in individual countries for New Zealand apples, with an amount last year of 52,000 tonnes. The United States was number two. After Thailand the Netherlands was the fourth buyer.
New varieties stimulate apple export, especially to Asia. Royal Gala is the main export variety at a distance. Last year 141,000 tonnes were exported. The share of this variety has been moving around 35% in recent years. Braeburn is still the second export variety but the export is decreasing year by by year to 66,000 tonnes in 2015. Jazz and Fuji are number three and four. Slightly less Jazz was exported last year compared to 2014, but a lot more of Fuji. Then the three varieties of the future follow with considerable growth figures in 2015 and recent years; Pink lady, Pacific Ocean and Envy. The various buyers have different preferences when it comes to apple variety. Europe mainly receives Braeburn. Jazz is also still reasonably in favour in Europe. Fuji on the other hand mainly goes to Taiwan and to a lesser extent to the United States. Pacific Queen often goes to China and Envy goes to the United states. For the main variety Royal Gala the Gulf States are important.
The New Zealand apple export season runs from March to August. In March it is mainly Royal Gala. In May Braeburn is the main export variety. In the other months the share of the other varieties is the largest. The Netherlands is the main buyer of New Zealand onions. Onions is the third New Zealand export product when it comes to fresh fruit and vegetables.
Netherlands is the main buyer
The quantity sent to the Netherlands varies year to year. In 2015 it was 33,000 tonnes, 8% more than in the year before. Indonesia and Japan are second and third buyers followed by Germany, Belgium and Malaysia.
NZ dollar exchange rate at high point in spring 2015
In April 2015 the value of the New Zealand dollar compared to the Euro peaked at €0.70 per NZ dollar. After this the value decreased to €0.56 in September last year, then rose a little to fall back to €0.60 (or 1.67 NZ dollar per Euro).