Frutas y HortalizasSep. 23, 2016
Australia: Frutillas no cumplen con requerimientos de calidad para ser exportadas a Nueva Zelanda
New Zealand consumers won’t be able to buy cheap strawberries, this spring, unlike those across the Tasman who are paying as low as 80c a punnet. But then, if Foodstuffs is to be believed, the cut-price Australian berries may not be such a treat.
“Strawberries in the Australian market were recently on sale at very low prices, however this cheap product did not meet the quality requirements for export to New Zealand,” said Foodstuffs NZ head of external relations Antoinette Laird.
“Customers can expect high quality imported product on our shelves, and due to the nature of produce, prices do vary,” she said.
New World and Pak’nSave supermarkets sell higher priced, export quality Aussie berries for $4.99 a punnet though.
Strawberry New Zealand spokesman Mick Ahern said the only strawberries on sale at the moment were Australian but the costs of airfreighting them and treating them to prevent damaging fruit fly meant they were not a bargain.
Australian berries were available for only a small window in early spring. New Zealand growers in Northland were close to picking their first fruit for the local market.
Ahern said 65 per cent of New Zealand supply was grown from Waikato north, with most around the Auckland region.
Laird said recent cold weather had delayed the start of the New Zealand strawberry season, which is expected to start during the next couple of weeks.
“Customers can expect to see a transition from Australian to New Zealand strawberries over the coming weeks as supply of good quality fruit improves, and at this stage we have no price indications for the new season, as it is simply too early,” Laird said.
Some Australian growers have blamed their low prices on a strawberry glut in Queensland and Western Australia, while others say the big supermarkets are forcing prices down to unsustainable levels.
In 2015, 110 New Zealand growers produced 6500 tonnes and earned $7.6 million in exports, mainly to Asian markets.