New Zealand

Record revenue for Seeka

Seeka has announced it generated record revenue of NZ$$310m (US$208m) for the year ended 31 December 2021 (FY21), a result powered by improved kiwifruit production.

The listed New Zealand company’s net profit before tax was also up 44 per cent year-on-year, to NZ$23.5m, results chief executive Michael Franks attributed to a long-term strategy.

"Seeka's 2021 financial performance comes from a deliberate strategy to significantly improve Seeka’s underlying operating earnings," said Franks.

"Revenue is up 23 per cent to a record NZ$310m helped by a rebound in Hayward kiwifruit volumes and the ongoing lift in SunGold kiwifruit production. EBITDA is up 32 per cent to A$56.8m as a tight focus on costs improved Seeka’s operating margin, especially following the one-off Covid-19 expenses incurred in FY20. FY21 EBITDA also benefited from a NZ$7.6m compensation payment from the Crown’s settlement of the Psa kiwifruit class action.

 Franks said Seeka had also increased its regional service with three major kiwifruit acquisitions.

“These acquisitions have grown Seeka's market share, and we are planning on handling 26 per cent of the national kiwifruit crop in 2022. The businesses are now fully integrated and are set to deliver significant synergy gains in FY22,” said Franks.

"Post-harvest capacity was reviewed and a decision on a greenfield development at Pukenga was deferred in favour of a NZ$20m capacity upgrade in the Bay of Plenty. A highly-automated MAF Roda packline is being installed at KKP and new coolstores with environmentally-friendly coolant are under construction at Transcool. These upgrades are expected to deliver sufficient capacity through to 2024.

"Seeka’s growth has led to an enlarged, five bank syndicated facility to fund near-term capacity upgrades. It also provides headroom to continue Seeka's growth strategy."

 

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com/produceplus

Author: Liam O'Callaghan

T&G counts on high quality apple crop

New Zealand grower-marketer plans to pick more than 120,000 tonnes of apples as it braces for “tough season” with labour and logistics

T&G Global has begun harvesting and shipping the first of this season’s New Zealand apple crop, with plans to pick more than 6.5m (18kg) cartons, which equates to over 120,000 tonnes.

Craig Betty, director of operations for T&G Global, said quality is looking good across all varieties this season, with fruit generally sizing well.

“For our premium Jazz and Envy brands, we’re seeing good quality and fruit size better than 2021,” said Betty.

“With hot and humid weather for early harvest in the Hawke’s Bay, striking the right conditions to develop good foreground colour has been challenging, but the recent change of weather should see this improve.

“In the South Island, we’ve seen higher than usual rainfall in spring, followed by warm summer temperatures which should see a full crop and improved sizing on 2021.”

T&G’s early-season apple, Poppi, is the company’s first variety to be harvested in February, followed by Royal Gala, Jazz and Envy over the coming months.

“Thanks to its early ripening qualities, Poppi is one of the first New Zealand apple brands of the season to arrive in our highly competitive Asian markets,” said Betty.

Labour and logistics challenges loom large for the New Zealand apple season, and T&G said it is taking a proactive approach to managing the issues as best it can.

“Without a doubt it’s going to be a tough season given New Zealand’s tight labour market, the absence of working holiday visa workers, continuing global supply chain challenges, and the ongoing impact of Covid-19 across the country and globe,” Betty explained.

“Across the country, we’re recruiting extensively to bring in much needed additional team members to help minimise the shortages we’re facing.

“We have business continuity plans in place across our supply chain and are continually monitoring the situation so we can move quickly to navigate and minimise the challenges which may come our way."

 

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com/produceplus

Author: John Hey

Seeka's kiwifruit harvest in full swing

Seeka's kiwifruit harvest is in full swing across both New Zealand and Australia with the company cautiously assessing the effect of the dry summer with both countries experiencing hot dry conditions. Rainfall in New Zealand was unseasonably low through the first quarter, and in Australia, Shepparton was in drought conditions with temperatures regularly above 40 degrees.

Generally, harvest 2019 began early attributed to dry late summer conditions. In New Zealand; the SunGold harvest is nearing completion with Seeka over 96% packed. Attention is now focusing on Hayward.

In the case of Hayward, Seeka has processed approximately 30% of its crop. Yields from early orchards were below estimate and the company is watching the next phase of the harvest to ascertain full year crop volume.

Seeka has significantly refurbished its Oakside site including a significant machine upgrade, and had constructed a new packhouse and packing machine at its newly acquired Kerikeri site. Both machines have commissioned well and hit their targeted volumes.

The company also purchased the business of Aongatete Coolstores Limited just prior to the season adding between 4m and 4.5m trays of supply to the group. The Aongatete purchase included experienced staff supported by loyal growers.

Safety through the early part of the season had been a particular focus for Seeka as part of its sustainability drive. The SunGold crop which is increasing in volume puts pressure on labour numbers for a short period. A labour shortage has been declared, and has resulted in some easing of the shortage, but some shifts remain difficult to fully resource. Adding to this pressure, the structure of the early season meant that post-harvest operators worked long hours to achieve premiums for their growers in achieving payment deadlines. Seeka has advocated changes to the structure to deliver a better safety profile.

Seeka has completed the harvest of its Red variety which was successfully picked, packed and exported to Australia. The spectacular fruit has a striking red central star burst on a golden background and with its sweet, berry flavour which has been well received by consumers.

The harvest of Seeka's green kiwifruit grown in Australia is also underway for the domestic and export markets. The team has worked well under dry conditions to produce a great quality crop.

Given the early start, the season is expected to finish in late May. Seeka is satisfied with the service delivered to our growers to date and the fruit's quality and performance to the market. It looks forward to continuing a safe and successful 2019 kiwifruit harvest.

For more information:
Kim McFadden
Seeka
Kim.McFadden@seeka.co.nz

 

Source: www.freshplaza.com 

Slowdown, what slowdown?

China's 2018 fresh fruit imports are up 36 per cent over the prior year, despite the country's slowing economic growth
China’s 2018 fresh fruit import figures reflect no signs of the country’s reported economic slowdown, recording a 36 per cent rise in value over the prior year.

According to Fresh Intelligence analysis of the latest China Customs figures, China imported a total of 4.8m tonnes of fresh fruit in 2018, worth US$6.9bn. This is up from the 3.8m tonnes valued at US$5.1bn imported in 2017, and achieved during a year when China recorded its slowest economic growth since 1990.

Imports from Chile, Thailand and the Philippines showed the greatest growth in 2018: up 68 per cent, 67 per cent and 42 per cent respectively in value terms over the previous year, the data showed.

Chile was just ahead of Thailand as the largest supplier by value due to the high prices of its cherries and grapes, Fresh Intelligence’s Wayne Prowse explained. In volume terms Chile ranked fourth after Vietnam (1.23m tonnes), the Philippines (1.16m tonnes) and Thailand (767, 472 tonnes) with 387,728 tonnes in 2018.

Meanwhile, Thai imports increased 67 per cent in value over 2017, and were dominated by durians and mangosteens.

The Philippines ranked third in import value growth terms, with mostly bananas and pineapples, and was followed by Vietnam, with dragonfruit and longans.

New Zealand imports, mostly kiwifruit and apples, saw a 21 per cent growth in value during 2018, while Australia was just behind, dominated by grapes and citrus and showing growth of 19 per cent.

The US slipped to seventh from fifth position in China’s 2018 import value rankings, and was the only major trading partner to lose value by 31 per cent, the figures showed.

The US export decline to China reflects the impact of retaliatory tariffs and stricter customs controls on US imports due to the diplomatic tensions between the two countries, which began in July 2018.

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com/asiafruit

Author: Luisa Cheshire

New Zealand - Spotlight on quality avocado to Australia

Jen Scoular:

Normally there is a collective sigh of relief as NZ finishes an avocado export season but this year it's a different story. They experienced significant quality issues post-November, especially for their avocados going into the Australian market.

NZ harvests avocados five months of the year for export markets, and aim to harvest just in time to be cooled and packed, loaded on to the appropriate vessel, arrive in Australia to be cleared, trucked to the distribution centre or wholesale market and be available to customer orders.

Avocados are unlike kiwifruit and apples where they are all harvested at once, then coolstored until the market is ready. The tree is the coolstore, and post-harvest needs to be as speedy as possible.

Another challenge is that the New Zealand growing season is cooler and wetter than growing seasons in Western Australia, Chile, Peru and Mexico — who are NZ competitors.

 Source: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/the-country/news/article.cfm?c_id=16&objectid=12210443 

New Zealand is beating Australia regarding Pacific work force

Both New Zealand and Australia want to attract tourist fruit pickers [‘backpackers’] and seasonal workers from around the Pacific. However, latterly the numbers are becoming somewhat skewered. For every 1,000 backpackers picking fruit and vegetables in New Zealand, there are about 3,000 seasonal workers from the Pacific. In Australia, the mix is different: for every 1,000 backpackers there are only about 250 Pacific seasonal workers.

The Australian outcome is what the research literature predicts: employers preferring the more flexible, much less regulated backpacker. It’s less hassle, and as recent media and academic research has shown, easier to get away with underpaying backpackers, where no government approval or reporting is required, than with seasonal workers, where stringent approval and reporting requirements are imposed.

How then to explain New Zealand’s contrary performance? There seem to be five factors which explain why New Zealand’s 2007 seasonal worker scheme (called the RSE or Recognised Seasonal Employer) has been much more popular than Australia’s 2009 Seasonal Worker Program (SWP).

First, New Zealand’s horticultural sector has a much stronger export orientation. As a result, the sector is more focused on quality and compliance, as stories of worker exploitation risk the loss of export markets. In contrast, Australian farmers are producing mainly for the domestic market, with little external scrutiny of workplace conditions and employee rights. They are focused primarily on costs rather than reputation.

Second, collective action is easier in New Zealand. New Zealand’s horticultural sector is much better organised than in Australia, and has a single peak body. It played a leading role in developing the RSE, and employs someone to promote it.

Third, the costs of regulatory compliance are also lower in New Zealand. Australia’s minimum wage is significantly higher than New Zealand’s, which creates a stronger incentive to avoid it.

Australia also has a weaker enforcement regime, making it less likely that you’ll be caught if you cheat. This is again due to the tyranny of size, but also because Australia has put less effort into developing a licensing regime for labour hire companies. This situation is now changing, which explains the growth of the SWP in recent years (as noted below).

Fourth, while Australia’s and New Zealand’s backpacker and seasonal worker schemes are very similar, there are subtle differences in their design, history and implementation, which have made a difference.

New Zealand introduced the RSE in 2007. At the time, Australia wasn’t prepared to follow suit. Instead, in response to farmers’ complaints about labour shortages, it introduced the second-year backpacker visa to funnel backpackers into agriculture in their first year with the offer of a second-year visa.

Finally, there is the simple fact that Australia simply attracts far more backpackers than New Zealand, making the potential pool of backpacker farm labour that much larger. In the 2017-18 financial year, Australia had 210,000 backpackers while New Zealand had only 70,000.

Source: asiancorrespondent.com via http://www.freshplaza.com


Publication date : 11/2/2018

Australia ratifies CPTPP

Joining five other nations, Australia’s commitment has triggered a 60-day countdown to tariff reductions
On 31 October, Australia became the sixth country to ratify its position in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11, and also known as the CPTPP).

Joining Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, and Singapore in the first group to ratify the agreement means a majority sign-on triggers a 60-day countdown to the first round of tariff cuts.

The first tariff cuts under the agreement will enter into force on 30 December 2018. A second reduction will occur three days later on 1 January 2019.

For Australia, tariff reductions to Mexico are expected to benefit the horticulture sector, and the broader agriculture industry will see improved access.

Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Peru, and Vietnam are also part of the agreement, but are yet to ratify their positions.

ExportNZ executive director Catherine Beard is pleased by the ratification and looming tariff reductions.

"CPTPP brings Japan, Canada and Mexico into a trade deal with New Zealand for the first time. These countries have large markets that will now become progressively open to New Zealand goods and services, improving New Zealand’s trade earnings,” she said.

"Other country members of CPTPP will now also offer terms of trade more favourable to New Zealand exports.”

The New Zealand government expects items like buttercup squash into Japan to become tariff-free; onions to Japan to have tariffs removed within the next six years; and tariffs in other countries to be eliminated on a number of items like cherries, radish, carrot seed, kiwifruit, and avocado.

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com/asiafruit Author: Camellia Aebischer 

Australian import industry squeezed

Government changes to pre-clearance inspections are having harsh effects on Australian importers.

The Overseas Pre-clearance Inspection (OPI) scheme, offered through Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) since 2001, is about to disappear.

The government department made a decision to eliminate the program in 2016 meaning importers will have to inspect and clear fruit for arrival onshore in Australia.

Previously, Australia appointed inspectors who travel to selected ports overseas to pre-clear produce as it meets phytosanitary approvals. Now, the number of inspectors is being reduced and moved back home.

A spokesperson from the DAWR told Asiafruit that the program is being phased out because on-arrival inspection provides greater opportunities for the DAWR to drive compliance and better allocate resources according to biosecurity risk.

Industry representatives are not convinced.

A member of the Australian Horticultural Exporters and Importers Association (AHEIA) told Asiafruit that wait times for onshore clearance are sitting at around 7 or 8 days, adding an extra week to their pre-order schedule.

“The retailers don’t want to hear ‘I’m sorry but we can’t get an inspection for your program,’” they said.

Industry sources told Asiafruit that Australia’s import sector is not only concerned about their business and relationships, but the flow-on effect for export deals.

“We know that in the past several of our neighbours have used non-phytosanitary issues to restrict fruit imports,” said Neil Barker, CEO at BGP International. “When they see how effective the DAWR protectionist policy has been I have no doubt they will consider adopting the policy. If an Australian grape shipment to Jakarta airport regularly spent seven days in the cargo terminal waiting for an inspection my guess is that the trade would stop.”

Dominic Jenkin, CEO of the AHEIA explained that when inspectors are placed overseas they’re able to approve produce more efficiently as multiple orders might be stationed in a single location at a major port; last year the programme operated across 75,000 tonnes of fresh fruit imports from New Zealand and the US.

The program was offered to a handful of countries, which has dwindled over the years. Currently availability is only for the USA and New Zealand on selected fruit and veg.

The DAWR said that the removal of OPI does not impact on the number of inspectors available to the department.

However, in Australia, inspectors are having to travel much longer distances between warehouses to inspect and approve. Because of the delays, importers are also having to absorb the cost and losses from shortened shelf life and storage fees to hold sealed containers while they wait for a scheduled inspector.

To curb the problem, the DAWR decided to implement a Compliance-Based Inspection (CBI) scheme last year, which was piloted during the New Zealand avocado season.

The CBI scheme means that if a product reaches a certain number of approved inspections (for avocados it’s five in a row), they will then move to a reduced inspection rate (again for avocados, inspections will reduce to one in four shipments).

“The new scheme was intended to reward importers who could achieve a good compliance history with decreased inspection rates and faster entry. To date, no importers have achieved these reduced inspection rates,” New Zealand Avocados told Asiafruit in a statement.

“An overriding reason is the difficulty of accurately identifying often globally distributed organisms (and their eggs), down to a taxonomic level to confirm they are not of quarantine concern,” they said.

The same issue appeared in 2016 when lemons and limes from the US were subject to the trial and saw backlogs of up to ten days.

While experiencing setbacks in gaining approval, a lot of the annoyance over changes stems from the where funding of the inspection program comes from.

“The frustrating thing is that it’s industry funded. So, most of the time the limitation is cost for government processes, but this is definitely not a case of that. The industry has never said ‘we’re not willing to pay for this,’” said the anonymous AHEIA member.

The DAWR sad it’s working closely with industry and trading partners to optimise compliance and minimise any disruption, while facilitating safe trade.

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com/asiafruit

Author: Camellia Aebischer