The World Apple Review has for the fourth year running named New Zealand’s apple industry the most competitive on the global stage, against 33 major apple growing countries.
Released this week by Belrose Inc, the US based world fruit market analysts, the World Apple Review, stated that the innovations emerging from New Zealand’s apple industry will increasingly impact production and marketing throughout the world.
New Zealand’s high productivity gains helped deliver the outstanding performance, ahead of its closest rivals Chile and the United States.
New Zealand Apples & Pears chief executive Alan Pollard said being named the best in the world is a huge honour and signaled the major significance New Zealand has on shaping and leading the industry on the world stage.
The world leading ranking comes as a huge reward to New Zealand’s $850million apple industry which is celebrating one of its best seasons this year. This also recognises the efforts of the thousands of Kiwis working across the sector, he said.
“To earn and then retain this world leading title year on year is an outstanding achievement, and rewards everyone who is part of New Zealand’s exciting and dynamic apple industry.
“This is an incredibly exciting time for our apple industry, together we are growing great people and the best apples for the world.
“Our world leading achievements reflect New Zealand’s apple industry’s ongoing investment and commitment to leading and adopting greater innovation, research and development, new technologies, and environmental and social sustainability,” said Mr Pollard.
The World Apple Review highlighted that given New Zealand’s relatively small size, export orientation and distance from major markets, the industry had long relied heavily on innovation to provide it with a competitive edge.
It had been the leader in popularising Gala and Fuji, pioneered the first true club variety JazzR, developed and produced a stream of new varieties Pacific RoseR, EnvyR, SmittenR and KoruR.
Mr Pollard said not only has the industry benefited from this varietal innovation, but the New Zealand Government via its Crown Research Institute, Plant & Food Research, has benefited significantly through royalty streams on these successful varieties.
In ranking the 33 countries, the World Apple Review compares production efficiency, infrastructure and inputs, and financial and market data. New Zealand was the best performer when all three rankings were combined.
According to the World Apple Review, over the past two seasons, New Zealand’s top performance, through exploiting new growing strategies and technologies produced over two and half times the average yield per hectare compared with the rest of world’s apple growing countries.
In general, off-season exporting countries like New Zealand had been forced to continually upgrade production systems to meet growing demands from the Northern Hemisphere.
For almost three decades, much of the innovation in apple varieties has emanated from New Zealand as the country has sought to offset its geographic disadvantage in accessing world markets.
The report stated that probably the single, most significant measure of innovation in a country’s orchards is the percentage of new varieties in production. It specifically highlighted how New Zealand was still actively searching for newer apple varieties to remain ahead of the field.
The bottom line on competitiveness, is that it is a moving target –continually moving upwards.
The apple industry needs to always monitor how the competitive bar is shifting and needs to be willing and able to adapt rapidly so they do not lose out in the competitive race, the report stated.