Monday, April 22, 2024

Zespri falls short in China trial vote

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Zespri has been left to reconsider its options for trialling SunGold kiwifruit with Chinese growers after narrowly failing to meet the threshold for approval of the trials from New Zealand growers.
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The final results of the vote to push on with limited trials of SunGold fruit already being grown illegally in China had 70.5% support to carry out a one-year orchard and marketing programme.

However, the marketer required a 75% grower approval to get the vote over the line.

A total of 64.1% of growers voted after an extensive roadshow and information campaign by Zespri to outline the options to growers as the area of SunGold kiwifruit planted in China starts to eclipse the planted area in NZ.

An earlier attempt by Zespri to get approval for the trial from regulatory authority Kiwifruit NZ had been turned down on grounds it posed too great a risk to NZ growers’ IP and fruit value.

Zespri chief Dan Mathieson says the trials were proposed after seeking extensive expert advice and provided a means to best learn more about the unauthorised plantings, including the potential impact on Zespri brand and sales channels.

“We will continue to explore our options and engage on the issue and find an alternative way forward. As part of this Zespri has a range of initiatives under way in China. This includes our R&D partnerships, our efforts to understand the local production and supply chain environment and our engagement with the Chinese kiwifruit industry and government,” Mathieson said.

“It remains important we stay close to this issue on the ground.”

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