Zespri's long-anticipated move to commercialise red kiwifruit, which is expected to help global sales reach 4.5 billion by 2025, has been welcomed by growers and industry leaders.
The announcement has been described as a ''significant milestone'' by Zespri chief executive Dan Mathieson.
He said the new red variety had been through an extensive trial programme in partnership with Plant & Food Research and would hit the shelves in New Zealand next year.
About 150 hectares of red licence would also be released in 2020 with plans to launch in Asia over the next few years.
"This commercialisation reflects our commitment to always do better - whether that be by offering better products or making greater contributions to our local communities."
Zespri chairman Bruce Cameron said in a statement to growers and shareholders that indicative modelling based on results from the trial orchards suggests successful
growers may achieve about 10,000 trays per hectare.
''Our indicative modelling suggests an orchardist who grafts in 2020 to Zespri Red may achieve a full crop by 2025, resulting in an estimated OGR per hectare of $100,000. ''These figures are subject to external verification as part of our due diligence process.''
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Te Puke kiwifruit grower Don Heslop said it was great news for the industry and growers long-term.
''It has taken a long time to come up with a red variety to stand the test of time and I think it will be very good. I'm excited.''
Fellow kiwifruit grower Neil Treblico agreed but said G3 had been more successful than anyone had dreamed so ''that will be a hard act to follow''.
He also noted Zespri was only releasing 150 hectares, which was only a small amount.
''It sounds like they are going softly, softly on this when you see currently Zespri is releasing 750 hectares a year. The only thing I wonder about is if it is the right red and I don't know the answer to that.''
''It's an exciting development but as a grower, I am threading with a bit of caution.''
New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc chief executive Nikki Johnson said the red kiwifruit was expected to have an earlier harvest compared to gold and green cultivars which could be beneficial.
''It will allow growers to diversify their portfolio as well as potentially increase the value of the industry by securing shelf space in supermarkets over a longer period of time.''
But NZKGI strongly encouraged growers to assess the risks associated with the new variety before participating in the tender process.
''NZKGI will be observing the release carefully and advocating for all kiwifruit growers.''
Western Bay mayor Garry Webber said the establishment of red kiwifruit orchards would create jobs.
''The first thing they have to do is plant the vines and build the structures and that will require labour and will grow jobs and opportunities. The fruit will have to be processed and packed and all those types of things.''
''I think anything that creates employment is really good for the district.''