The New Zealand apple industry has set its sights on topping the $1billion mark for exports by 2022.
The industry has been ranked in the World Apple Report as the world’s most competitive performing country for apple production. This comes as the sector reported its highest harvest on record for the 2015 season, yielding 550,000 tonnes, up 13 per cent on the year before and likely to surge further with plantings of more trees over the present season.
The renewed optimism in the sector comes after the dark days of the 1990s when orchardists were chopping trees out and converting land into housing and lifestyle blocks.
Bayleys Havelock North rural agent, Kris August, said the Hawke’s Bay region was evolving into a two tier market for apple orchards.
“We have people who are interested in buying something that is essentially a lifestyle block that has a house and apples on it, and then we have very strong interest in orchard land blocks that don’t have dwellings upon them for purely commercial production.”
“It does depend however on that orchard block having the right varieties on it. If not they will want to rip out the trees there, and plant more marketable varieties.”
But owners could expect a good level of return from their lifestyle investment, with companies paying about $5000-$5500 a hectare as standard lease rates.
“It really stacks up for anyone who does not want to grow apples themselves, and would like a return off their land.”