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More SunGold kiwifruit in Italy

NZN 9/02/2017 Rebecca Howard

Zespri International, New Zealand's kiwifruit marketer, it will license more production of its SunGold variety in Italy to meet rising demand and ensure 12-month supply.

The Tauranga-based company said it will allocate an additional 1,800 hectares of European SunGold licences during the next three years. The first 1,200 will be in Italy and the remaining 600 hectares are still to be allocated.

Zespri chief operating officer Simon Limmer says the move is driven by growing year-round demand for Zespri kiwifruit.

It has established supply in several northern hemisphere countries, particularly Italy and France, to ensure supply when New Zealand kiwifruit is not available. It currently exports and markets premium New Zealand kiwifruit to 56 countries around the world.

"Twelve-month supply is a key part of Zespri's strategy and this investment aligns our offshore production with the strong increase in New Zealand SunGold volumes, set to double to around 90 million trays over the next first years," said Mr Limmer.

Production of Zespri SunGold in Italy is over 4 million trays this year from 800 hectares.

Zespri says another 850 hectares which will come into full production in the next few years.

It did not specify the investment involved but said it will be carried out through its partnership with four Italian suppliers - Apofruit, Alegra-Intesa, Salvi Unacoa and Spreafico. Suppliers can only grow SunGold kiwifruit with a licence from Zespri and can only sell to Zespri.

Zespri shares last traded at $3.20 on the Unlisted market.

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