Bay kiwifruit growers have reaped the majority share of nearly $2 billion as Zespri profits climb by 12 per cent and forecasts remain bright.
Zespri's total operating revenue for the 2019/20 season was $3.36b, up from $3.14b while almost $2b was paid out to growers nationally.
Net profit rose to $200.8 million in the year to March 31 from $178.9m a year earlier.
Chairman Bruce Cameron says the results are incredibly encouraging for the industry and the wider New Zealand economy during a time of so much economic uncertainty.
"The result reflects the hard work Zespri and the industry are undertaking to both grow supply and value through a world-leading brand and a premium product."
Chief executive Dan Mathieson said it had delivered more than 5 billion pieces of kiwifruit to people all over the world and it was another strong year.
"Within our business, we've focused on creating more value and continuing to put consumers even more in the centre of our decision-making. We've also made excellent progress in building our business for the future and investing in the systems we need to continue to grow.''
He said 2020/21 was shaping up as another strong year, despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
"We're continuing to see strong growth in our largest markets, including Japan, China and Spain, and making real progress in newer ones like the US and also continuing our efforts to get closer to consumers and to broaden our sales channels.''
More than 80 per cent of kiwifruit orchards are in the Bay of Plenty and it was one of the largest contributors to the region's GDP.
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New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc chief executive Nikki Johnson said it estimated the industry would also require 28,000 seasonal workers in 2027 compared with 20,000 for the 2020 season.
Meanwhile, some areas in New Zealand had experienced big leaps in growth as the number of hectares producing kiwifruit jumped.
Between 2015 and 2018 it included a 28 per cent increase in Poverty Bay, 10 per cent within Northland while Waihi rocketed by 49 per cent, she said.
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley said the region's surrounding primary sector was the backbone of our local economy.
''The sector employs a big workforce and it supports a wide variety of local businesses. Kiwifruit is what the Bay of Plenty is known for overseas, thanks to Zespri's marketing and distribution efforts.''
In his view kiwifruit was an excellent way to promote the region for international tourism.
''The kiwifruit sector helps small businesses as a range of sole traders, technicians, and logistics companies benefit from working with the prosperous industry. Our main streets will receive a boost of trade thanks to this bumper kiwifruit season.''
Priority One chief executive Nigel Tutt said the results highlight the success of Zespri in international markets.
''They have been able to deliver growth in price and volume over a number of years – which ultimately translates to income into Bay of Plenty pockets. In difficult economic times we are especially grateful to have this industry, they have been able to absorb displaced staff from other industries and have delivered results in their own right.''
He said it was proud to have Zespri as a major strategic partner.
''We work closely with them on a number of fronts and they're an active and valued part of our local economy.''
Kiwifruit grower and Western Bay deputy mayor John Scrimgeour said his crop had matured well and it was a good season despite the lack of rain.
''We were able to pick ours pretty early ... it was looking pretty bleak with Covid but being able to get that fruit off and packed in a timely way was great.''
Without a doubt the community would benefit from the flow-on effects of the kiwifruit industry, he said.
''Some will go to the bank for interest and debt but the rest will go into the local economy.''
Zespri 2019/20 Financial Results Summary:
Total operating revenue: NZ$3.36b
Total fruit sales revenue: NZ$3.14b
Total New Zealand-grown fruit and service payments: $1.96b
New Zealand and non-New Zealand trays sold: 164.4 million trays
Zespri's net profit after tax NZ$200.8 million
Expected total dividends: NZ$0.94
Fruit category results:
The average Green per tray return increased to NZ$6.67, with the average per hectare return for Green reaching a record high of NZ$67,295.
Organic Green reached an average return per tray of NZ$9.88, with the average per hectare return reaching NZ$63,734.
The SunGold average return per tray increased to NZ$11.86, and the average return per hectare was also a record NZ$161,660.
Sweet Green achieved an average return per tray of NZ$7.66 and an average return per hectare of NZ$43,550.