Kiwifruit industry in New Zealand
New Zealand is the second largest kiwifruit producing country, next to Italy, and holds approximately 30% of the market share. In the 2008-2009 season the value New Zealand kiwifruit exports was NZ$1.45 billion.
Kiwifruit is native to the Yangtze River valley on the coast of Eastern China. The New Zealand Kiwifruit industry began with Mary Isabel Fraser, a teacher and missionary, bringing kiwifruit seeds to New Zealand from China in 1904. A New Zealand horticulturalist, Hayward Wright, developed the well-known green kiwifruit in Avondale, New Zealand, around 1924. The well known green kiwifruit were later renamed “Hayward” as a tribute to Hayward Wright.
- 1 Origin of the Fruit
- 2 Origins of the Industry
- 3 Initial Growth of the Export Market
- 4 Industry Maturation
- 5 Loss of Competitive Advantage
- 6 State of the Industry
- 7 Production volumes
- 8 Invasive plant
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Origin of the Fruit
Origins of the Industry
The first commercial planting of Chinese gooseberries occurred in 1937 by the orchardist Jim MacLoughlin. He found that the vines were low maintenance and fruited well. By 1940, MacLoughlin purchased more property for Chinese gooseberry production. MacLoughlin’s truck was commandeered for army use during the outbreak of war and as a result, he was forced to sell his property and enter into a shared cropping arrangement with another farmer. In 1955, MacLoughlin bought out his partner, purchasing his land back along with an additional 38 acres and planting it all to Chinese gooseberries. During the war around 550 cases of the fruit were marketed each season with the fruit proving popular with American servicemen in New Zealand. This provided the opportunity for the previously domestically-consumed fruit industry to expand by exporting to an international market.
Initial Growth of the Export Market
In 1952, MacLoughlin approached the New Zealand Fruit Federation who agreed to facilitate the shipping and marketing of the fruit to United States markets, this was New Zealand’s first export of Chinese gooseberries.
Rebranding the Chinese Gooseberry
Among the exporters was the prominent produce company Turners and Growers, who were calling the berries melonettes, because the local name for the fruit, Chinese gooseberry, had political connotations due to the Cold War, and to further distinguish it from real gooseberries, which are prone to a fungus called anthracnose. An American importer, Norman Sondag of San Francisco, complained that melonettes was as bad as Chinese gooseberry because melons and berries were both subject to high import tariffs, and instead asked for a short Maori name that quickly connoted New Zealand. In June 1959, during a meeting of Turners and Growers management in Auckland, Jack Turner suggested the name kiwifruit which was adopted and later became the industry-wide name. In the 1960s and 1970s, Frieda Caplan, founder of Los Angeles-based Frieda's Finest (aka Frieda's Inc./Frieda's Specialty Produce) played a key role in popularising kiwifruit in the United States, convincing supermarket produce managers to carry the odd-looking fruit.
The growth of the export market during this time had a very fragmented structure composed of individual growers, grower cooperatives, exporters and distributors. An attempt to develop a joint marketing effort saw the establishment of the Kiwifruit Export Promotion Committee in 1970, followed by the Kiwifruit Marketing Licensing Authority in 1977. The Kiwifruit Marketing Licensing Authority had the rights to establish market standards such as fruit size, quality and packaging of kiwifruit for export markets, the Authority also acted as an adviser to the government. This gave growers some control of licensing exporters.
The total volume of kiwifruit exports rapidly increased from the late 1960s to early 1970s. During this time, the number or exporting firms also dramatically increased. By 1976, the total volume of fruit New Zealand produced had exceeded the volume domestically consumed.
Loss of Competitive Advantage
In the 1980s other countries began to export kiwifruit, and New Zealand lost its first-mover advantage. Also at this time the seven licensed exporters in New Zealand were in fierce competition rather than collaborating with one another, resulting in an industry crisis caused by unstable demands and reduced grower profitability.
Reaction to Competition
To overcome the adverse affect of a competitive market system, the New Zealand Government and growers worked together to establish a single-desk export arrangement. This resulted in the New Zealand Kiwifruit Marketing Board which had the role of promoting and selling kiwifruit in overseas market as well as maintaining high quality standards across the supply chain.
In the 1990s, the export arrangement was reorganised in response to pressure from increasing fruit supplies from competing overseas export markets. New Zealand kiwifruits are now marketed under the brand-name label Zespri which is trademarked by a marketing company domiciled in New Zealand, ZESPRI International. The branding move also served to distinguish New Zealand kiwifruit from other fruit and prevents other countries from cashing in on the "Kiwi" name. ZESPRI is a single-desk system and has a monopoly on exporting outside Australasia (i.e., it is a monopsony). Zespri International Ltd. is owned by 2,700 local growers through Zespri Group Ltd which was established in 2000.
State of the Industry
Turners & Growers began to challenge Zespri’s export monopoly of New Zealand’s Kiwifruit industry in 2009 to gain the right to export their own kiwifruit varieties without using Zespri. However, in October 2011 the case was dropped in response to pressures from a new bacterial disease causing devastating losses in kiwifruit.
In November 2010, plant symptoms were discovered that suggested that Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae (PSA), a variant of the bacterium Pseudomonas syringae, were present in a Bay of Plenty kiwifruit orchard in the North Island. Provisions of the Biosecurity Act 1993 have been used to limit its spread. These measures were continued in 2011, but were largely unsuccessful with most orchards in the Bay of Planty displaying some level of infection by November 2011. Some of the attacks in the Bay of Plenty were by the virulent strain PSA-V. The disease is worldwide, with serious attacks in Italy and France also in 2011.    
In mid-2013 a China-based Zespri subsidiary was fined $960,000 for under-declaring customs duties, and the Serious Fraud Office launched an investigation into Zespri itself in October
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The kiwifruit vine has become an invasive plant species in the Bay of Plenty Region due initially to the dumping of fruit next to bush remnants. The Department of Conservation, responsible for protecting public land, classify Actinidia deliciosa as an environmental weed.
- Skallerud, Kare; Olsen, Svein (2011). "Export Market Arrangements in Four New Zealand Agriculture Industrues: An Institutional Perspective". Journal of International Food and Agribusiness Marketing 23 (4): 310–329. doi:10.1080/08974438.2011.621841. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
- "Isabel Fraser-Hand carried the first kiwifruit seeds from China". Zespri. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
- Mary Isabel Frasier at the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography
- "Hayward Kiwifruits Namesake". Zespri. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
- "First Commercial Kiwifruit Grower and Explorer". Zespri. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
- Green, Emily (8 May 2002). "Kiwi, Act II". Los Angeles Times.
- "How Kiwifruit Got Its Name". Zespri. Retrieved 9 July 2007.
- Sarah Lyall (17 May 1987). "What's New in Exotic Fruit: Putting a Kiwi in Every Lunch Box". New York Times. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
- Sayeeda Bano and Frank Scrimgeour (June 2011). "New Zealand Kiwifruit Export Performance: Market Analysis and Revealed Comparative Advantage". University of Waikato. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
- ZESPRI International
- "German owners of Turners & Growers extend olive branch to Zespri". The New Zealand Herald. 4 April 2012. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
- "Suspected Bacterial Vine Infection". MAF Biosecurity New Zealand. 8 November 2010. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
- "Kiwifruit vine disease by MAF Biosecurity NZ".
- Watson, Peter (2011-01-25). "More virulent PSA strain a new worry for kiwifruit growers". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 2011-09-04.
- Fox, Andrea (2011-05-25). "Renewed fears as PSA devastates European orchards". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 2011-09-04.
- Hembry, Owen (2011-08-25). "Relief for kiwifruit industry". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2011-09-04.
- Hueber, Andre (2011-08-28). "Antiobiotic vine spray 'crazy'". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2011-09-04.
- Serious Fraud Office investigating Zespri. Radio NZ. 22 October 2013.
- W Lee, P Heenan, J Sullivan, P Williams "Limiting new invasive weeds in New Zealand—some emerging issues" Protect Spring 2001
- Clayson, Howell (May 2008). Consolidated list of environmental weeds in New Zealand. Wellington: Department of Conservation. ISBN 978-0-478-14412-3.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to kiwifruit.|
- Zespri International
- New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated
- Kiwifruit at Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
- Minimising the spread of wild kiwifruit at Environment Bay of Plenty
- "Grower loses bid to break Zespri stranglehold". Stuff (New Zealand (NZPA)). 14 August 2010.