Jamie Gray is a business reporter for the NZ Herald

Zespri says China exports to resume this week

Kiwifruit is by far New Zealand's biggest horticultural export. Photo / NZ Herald
Kiwifruit is by far New Zealand's biggest horticultural export. Photo / NZ Herald

Kiwifruit marketer Zespri says exports to China should resume this week.

Exports were temporarily suspended early this month after Zespri received a "warning notification" from China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) following the discovery of the fungus Neofabraea actinidiae in two containers of kiwifruit.

Zespri said there have been two more finds of Neofabraea actinidiae from fruit which arrived in market before the new checking procedures were put in place and it was possible there may be more finds.

Meanwhile shipments of kiwifruit continue to clear the border and this issue has only affected around 2 per cent of the fruit which has arrived in China to date, it said in a statement.

Zespri, which exports the bulk of New Zealand's kiwifruit corp to the world, said revised pre-export kiwifruit checking processes were now in place for New Zealand kiwifruit exports to China in response to the notification regarding the find of the fungus Neofabraea actinidiae.

These processes have been approved by the Ministry for Primary Industries, MPI which is notifying the Chinese authorities, Zespri said.

"New Zealand kiwifruit suppliers are now rechecking China supply fruit under these new processes and Zespri shipping is due to resume to China next week," Zespri said in a statement.

Sales of kiwifruit, which have cleared into China continue as normal and our sales season continues positively in China, on track to exceed last year's volume, with another 7 million trays forecast to export to China this season, it said.

China is New Zealand's biggst export market by volume.

Neofabraea actinidiae is a fungus that causes fruit to rot in long term storage and has no food safety implications.

"Zespri's rigorous quality systems for checking and rechecking our fruit means this affects only a tiny fraction of the 135 million trays we're shipping this season," it said.

Kiwifruit is by far New Zealand's biggest horticultural export.

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