lunes, enero 08, 2007

Berries en Nueva Zelanda

Muy interesante reporte sobre el panorama de los berries en Nueva Zelanda en éstas últimas campañas sobretodo la cosecha 2005 2006. En lo que hace al arándano todavía consideramos que es incipiente la probabilidad de que Nueva Zelanda sea una competencia seria para los berries de latinoamerica en los mercados de EEUU y la Unión Europea. A pesar de los aumentos en los costos de mano de obra la actividad a aumentado los ingresos para el productor. A continuación un resumen del reporte.

The weather over the 2005/06 season had a favourable impact on berryfruit production.
The decline in the New Zealand exchange rate over recent months has benefited export berryfruit growers, with all sectors showing an improvement in revenue. Despite cost increases, particularly for labour, berryfruit growers have experienced a lift in their net financial results for this season. Berryfruit industries such as blackcurrants and boysenberries are well organised, and continue to invest in long-term strategic priorities, including research and development. Berryfruit growers continue to have difficulty importing new plant material for variety evaluation and breeding programmes.
Climatic factors affecting production
Blackcurrant growers experienced a good growing season, with sufficient winter chilling in 2005 to obtain even bud burst and growth. Pollination was very good, but wind and hail in January 2006 caused some crop losses. At the end of the 2005/06 growing season, blackcurrant bud quality appeared favourable, with good cane and bud numbers for production in the next growing season. Temperature and soil conditions were very favourable for strawberry plant establishment in 2005. Similarly, favourable conditions at harvest allowed growers to pick strawberries at or near optimal maturity. Warm spring and early summer conditions advanced the season for both boysenberry and raspberry growers in the main production area of Nelson.
Blueberry growers also experienced favourable conditions. The latter part of the summer was dry, resulting in good fruit quality but reduced berry size. Autumn rain encouraged the development of rust disease on blueberry plants again.
Production figures and forecasts
The national crop for blackcurrants was 10 000 tonnes, down on a forecast crop of 11 000 tonnes. Botrytis fungus disease during the bloom period and hail in early January caused crop losses in the order of 500 to 1000 tonnes. In addition, uncertain market prospects led to 500 tonnes of fruit not being harvested. This fruit tended to be either late-harvested varieties or varieties with less desirable characteristics, which did not meet specific market requirements. However, there were low weather-related losses, and newer blocks yielded better than expected. The harvest in 2007 could reach 12 000 tonnes. It is likely that the crop will vary in volume between 10 000 and 12 000 tonnes, depending on seasonal factors. Typical blackcurrant yields were around 7.2 tonnes per hectare in 2005/06.
Blueberry yields were up this season for both individual growers and the whole industry. There were few adverse climatic events, and production increased from plantings of new, better performing varieties. As a result, total blueberry industry volumes increased more than 50 percent on the previous season.
Rust infestation levels on blueberry plants in autumn 2006 were comparable to 2003 levels, when the disease was first discovered in New Zealand. The level of disease expression is now just as severe on a range of varieties as it was on the variety initially considered most susceptible. The effect on the 2007 crop will only be quantified as the season progresses.
The boysenberry industry has enjoyed growth in total production in 2005/06. Factors contributing to this outcome include a good growing season, grower attention to best management practice, and new plantings coming on stream. Warm spring conditions advanced the season by up to two weeks and placed added pressure on growers to harvest at optimal condition.
Strawberry yields improved this season owing to the absence of major adverse climate events, and an increasing proportion of area planted with the variety Camarosa. Camarosa achieves higher productivity per hectare compared to the former dominant variety, Pajaro.
Raspberry yields have also improved slightly as a result of better seasonal conditions.
Long-term average and seasonal berryfruit yields

Long-term average(tonnes/ha) 6
2003/04(tonnes/ha) 5.4
2004/05(tonnes/ha) 6
2005/06(tonnes/ha) 7


Financial position

Consumer demand for fresh blueberries is increasing as the health benefits of this fruit become more widely known. Increased demand from the United States (US) has caused a shortfall in supply to the blueberry process sector. The higher demand has lead to improved prices and gross margins for both fresh and frozen blueberry suppliers. Strawberry grower revenues have improved owing to higher yields and returns, with export prices typically around $14.50 per tray. Returns to boysenberry growers have recovered this season. Growers attribute this to higher overall yields and the downward movement of the New Zealand exchange rate, which has provided better export returns.

Blackcurrant growers have moved to utilise existing grape harvesting technology, with minor modifications, for the harvesting of blackcurrants. The capital cost of harvesters is in the order of $180,000 to $300,000. Large-scale blackcurrant growers see this as a long-term investment. The speed of mechanical harvesting means growers are able to harvest the crop when fruit maturity conditions are optimal. They are also able to reduce their dependence on the labour market and thus avoid associated employment compliance costs, and can lease or contract out the machinery for grape harvesting later in the season.

Berryfruit growers are finding production costs are creeping up, due mainly to increasing fuel prices. The Holidays Act 2003 has also added to costs, as labour often has to be employed on public holidays over the Christmas period. Over the last three years, base pay rates have moved from around $9 to $12 per hour plus an additional 8 percent for four weeks’ equivalent annual leave.

Airfreight costs continue to escalate as the New Zealand exchange rate falls. These costs are not offset by higher market returns for crops such as strawberries in the US, where year-round prices are relatively stable.
The cost of annual replanting for strawberry growers is declining because the variety Camarosa is more widely spaced than its predecessor Pajaro. Despite the wider spacing, it is able to achieve similar or higher yields per hectare. This cost saving may not continue in the long-term, as Camarosa may be replaced by new closer-spaced varieties with improved growth and performance characteristics. Fuel costs have increased significantly and growers can expect other inputs like fertiliser and agrichemicals to rise as supply companies factor in fuel cost increases.

Net result
Gross margins for export berryfruit crops are shown in Table 9.2. The gross margin does not allow for overhead costs such as taxation, debt servicing or administration. Levies charged per unit of production or sales are included in the gross margin. Gross margins for all varieties have increased over last year. For most berryfruit crops, 2006 has provided the highest gross margin in the last five years.

Issues and trends

Blueberries New Zealand Incorporated, the blueberry industry organisation, has enjoyed a significant improvement in its revenue from levies, which are based on product sales value. Blueberries New Zealand is currently reviewing its contract plant breeding programme with Hort+Research. Hort+Research has withdrawn from commercial propagation of blueberries in New Zealand, but a large company engaged in growing blueberries has obtained a propagation licence. This brings the number of licensed New Zealand blueberry propagators to four.

The blueberry industry has also experienced a significant increase in total yield in 2006, up 55 percent on the previous year. This was due to good climatic conditions in the major growing regions, and an increase in production in Hawkes Bay as new plantings came into production. The Commodity Levy Order for blueberries is due to be voted on later this year. The stability of industry-funded activities such as research and development will be strongly influenced by whether the levy order is supported, especially by large players.
Blueberry export market diversification away from Japan continues, with market expansion in Australia, South-East Asia and the domestic fresh market. The recent New Zealand/Thailand Free Trade Agreement assisted in establishing a supply relationship with that country.

Market diversification has been driven by price competition with other southern hemisphere blueberry suppliers, notably Chile. Chilean suppliers use modified-atmosphere containers to sea-freight blueberries, allowing them to land the fruit in North American markets at very low cost. New Zealand has a freight cost advantage over Chile when supplying Australian and Asian destinations. In the future, blueberry exports using conventional and modified-atmosphere containers will become a feature of the New Zealand blueberry industry.

Strawberry growers continue to lose ground in the US market, due to supply competition from Mexico, Argentina, Chile and other suppliers. There has been some expansion of New Zealand exports to Asia, with prices holding at similar levels to previous years. Exporters are targeting value-added products such as stem berry packs for premium food service customers in US markets. Process strawberry production in New Zealand has dropped 75 percent over the last three seasons, following the importation of cheap substitute products from Chile and China.
The strawberry industry charges a fee on all plant sales managed under its propagation programme, to fund research and development. As the more widely spaced Camarosa variety has become increasingly dominant in the industry, the total number of plants sold annually and therefore the total income available for investment in research and development has decreased. In 2005, 11.5 million plants were sold compared with 13.7 million plants in 2004. Sales for 2006 will not be known until July.

New strawberry varieties were last imported into New Zealand in 2002. Since that time, industry variety evaluation and development programmes are on hold pending completion of the review of the Import Health Standards for all types of berryfruit. The strawberry industry is seeking the reaccreditation of the University of California as a supplier of plant material, as this would allow the importation of new varieties into New Zealand without the need to use Level 3 quarantine facilities. The strawberry industry now considers it is three years behind competitors like Australia, which possesses new and better strawberry variety selections.
The strawberry industry obtained an extension of its critical use exemption for methyl bromide under the Montreal Protocol. This allows continued use of the product as a soil fumigant during 2006 for both strawberry runner and strawberry fruit production, and for a final year in 2007 for strawberry runner growers. Strawberry growers lack confidence in the alternative soil fumigants trialled, and have significant concerns about the long-term sustainability of the industry.
One strawberry exporter is spreading its supply risk by investing in production in North Auckland, and continuing to source fruit from other growers in the Waikato and Auckland Region. Some northern region plantings are to be trialled under protective cover for the coming season using the Spanish Hoops cover system. The industry group is also investing in research on the use of “virtually impenetrable films”, which have the potential to enhance fumigation efficacy and reduce required fumigant dose rates for effective treatment.

Berryfruit Growers’ Federation Inc, Strawberry Growers New Zealand, Blackcurrants New Zealand Ltd and NZ Boysenberry Council. Also Linda Hawes. Para ver el informe coompleto con cuadros clickear en

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