Listed fresh produce grower Turners & Growers this week rolls out a global launch of what it says is the world’s first commercialised red kiwifruit variety, exactly 51 years after the company coined the name "kiwifruit".
The company said it owns the global intellectual property rights to EnzaRed, which has a striking red starburst centre and "exotic" flavour, and has set up growing hubs for the variety in both hemispheres to ensure year-round supply to world supermarkets.
The potential market for New Zealand grown and exported EnzaRed was similar to that of gold kiwifruit, which currently earns more than $250 million for the industry here, said chief executive Jeff Wesley.
China was in its third season of commercial production of the red fruit in the Sichuan province, and crops are being established in Italy and France.
By 2012 the company would have around 100 hectares of EnzaRed growing in the two European countries to boost supply during Europe’s winter, he said.
The company wants to make New Zealand the growing hub for the Southern Hemisphere. It has a major propogation project underway at its Kerikeri research facility to produce plants and grafting material for next year, when Turners & Growers will graft several thousand EnzaRed plants on its orchards there.
The global market for its red variety was "extremely" strong, said the company, which is campaigning through the courts and Parliament to get regulations protecting dominant New Zealand kiwifruit exporter Zespri abolished.
Turners & Growers 51 years ago tomorrow gave the kiwifruit its name when launching exports of New Zealand grown Chinese gooseberries in the US.
Turners & Growers is the biggest corporate horticulture investor in New Zealand, and a large-scale grower, marketer and exporters of other types of fruit.
Do you agree with claims that Fonterra is transferring wealth from farmers to unit holders and to the dividend in contradiction of its milk price manual?Related story: Lower milk price 'to boost dividend'