At NZKGI, we aim to keep our grower community up-to-date with relevant industry news and key event information. See below for all of our latest industry news announcements and the details you need to know for our upcoming events.

Latest News / March 25, 2020

Significant changes to fruit testing, Kiwistart procurement and payments for 2020

Dear Growers,
As I stated in an earlier communication to you, the risk and rewards of this harvest are unprecedented. The current situation of how we deal with this season with the disruption of COVID-19 has put everyone in the industry under a lot of pressure.
While some growers will find this decision difficult, it’s a pragmatic solution around the continuance of harvest to supply kiwifruit to our markets. No one is happy with the outcome but it’s the only solution that will allow us to continue harvest.

     – Doug Brown, NZKGI Chairman.


Significant changes to fruit testing, Kiwistart procurement and payments for 2020

With the upcoming restrictions around New Zealand moving to a COVID-19 level 4 protocol we are very privileged to be in a situation where the kiwifruit industry has been allowed to operate under the “Essential Services” category. Because of the increased protocols Eurofins have deemed they are not an essential service, with the exception of residue testing, and are not able to operate under the level 4 protocols.

Eurofins will continue with residue testing however not maturity clearance sampling. To harvest the fruit a new form of maturity testing needs to take place to allow the 2020 season to go ahead. These have been worked through with a small team and agreed upon at IAC and the Zespri Board level today.

The key changes to sampling and maturity testing are as follows:

  • The independent laboratory, Eurofins, will no longer sample or test fruit
  • Post Harvest will be responsible for sampling and testing fruit with a 30 fruit sample
  • Dry matter will not be tested
  • Brix will be tested on 30 fruit sample
  • Colour will be tested on 30 fruit sample for Gold 3 (up until 2nd April)
  • Seed colour will be tested on 30 fruit sample for Green


The impact of these changes will result in significant change to kiwistart procurement and rates.

  • No dry matter tests mean there will be no taste payment
  • Kiwistart rates have been adjusted (including previous weeks) to remove taste and allow for size accumulation and 15% premiums.
  • This means growers who have already picked will have their Kiwistart rates reduced as the dry matter accumulation is taken out. Fruit value will be a higher payment to balance this out.
  • Time rates to be adjusted to remove taste
  • Fruit Value, Supplier Accountability, pack differential remains the same methodology and calculation.


Gold 3 Kiwistart Procurement Plan and Rates

  • No change to procurement plan but week 13/14 submit date moved to Thursday 2nd April to allow facilities to adjust and set up labs for the new protocols

  • Kiwistart rates updated to reflect removal of taste
  • Gold 3 size 39s will remain but size 42s will not be procured
  • Gold 3 Organic rates to be updated with same methodology

Gold 3 Maturity Criteria

  • Below are the changes to the brix and colour criteria to allow for the noise within a 30 fruit sample.

Green Kiwistart Procurement Plan and Rates

  • FPP supply cap will be removed and moved into an allocation
  • Allocations for weeks 12.6 – 15.5 will be based on supplier share of the past 3 years FPP cap to allow allocations to go where fruit is likely to be.
  • Other allocations to remain as planned

  • Green Kiwistart rates updated to remove taste portion and include the original 15% premium and fruit value compensation.

  • Green Organic rates updated with same methodology

Green Maturity Criteria

  • Below are the changes to the brix and colour criteria to allow for the noise within a 30 fruit sample.

Sweet Green

  • Sweet Green does not have kiwistart rates but an early supply premium so these rates stay the same
  • Rates between Japan and no Japan product are the same after 27th March so providing all fruit packed up to this date has a Eurofins clearance it will be able to be differentiated between Japan Y and T and non Japan product
  • Maturity testing will be done by post harvest  with the following criteria

Note that for all fruit groups Japan still requires high dry matter fruit so it is expected that post harvest will use their knowledge of the fruit and maturity areas to select the appropriate fruit for each market.

We are aware that these are a significant changes however these are essential to be able to run the industry through this difficult time.