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Zespri launches China trial to combat SunGold plantings

23rd October 2020 By Samantha Worthington | | @foodtickernz

Zespri has started a procurement trial in China to try and combat illegal plantings of its SunGold kiwifruit. 

Zespri is looking at how it can work with China amid illegal SunGold plantings. 

The grower co-op owned the rights to SunGold, and New Zealand growers paid to grow the variety.

However, plantings in China had doubled in the six months to July 2020, climbing to 4000 hectares and inching closer to New Zealand’s 7500 hectares. 

In a bid to gain further understanding, Zespri said it had agreed to a limited due-diligence procurement trial, which would look at the potential for future commercial arrangements with China.

The trial would involve the procurement of up to 200,000 trays of fruit from a small number of selected grower entities there.

Zespri told the USX this week that the move was part of the company’s wider strategy, which included legal and political efforts to help bring influence.

Chief executive Dan Mathieson had also travelled to China to meet with representatives of the Chinese government and industry.  

The co-op said it would be engaging with key stakeholders there and it would also continue to work closely with the New Zealand Government.

“As has been made clear, any decision to move beyond this trial should the results suggest that commercial procurement is a viable option for the New Zealand industry in managing our risk and protecting value, would be subject to securing the necessary support under the regulations,” Zespri said. 

The co-op said further information around the trial and strategy was to be made available to industry, including at the upcoming November roadshows.



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