China market opens for Gisborne persimmons

12-year effort bears fruit as test shipment bound for Shanghai.

12-year effort bears fruit as test shipment bound for Shanghai.

CHINA MARKET: Gisborne persimmon growers like John Macpherson have welcomed the trial export move being made by First Fresh into the lucrative China market. Picture supplied

NEW Zealand will make the first export of persimmons to China shortly after a 12-year effort to gain market access, and the consignment will be fruit from Gisborne orchards.

Gisborne-based exporter First Fresh will send the trial shipment of Gisborne persimmons next month following approval from China’s quarantine authority AQSIQ.

“Negotiations for market access began in 2005 and persimmons will be the first new fruit to gain access to the Chinese market since the FTA was signed in 2008,” said First Fresh managing director Ian Albers.

“The China strategy is to start small and gain a clear understanding of consumers before taking the next step.

“We have had interest from China in New Zealand persimmons for years, and the growers are excited to see they have finally gained access to a market with potential at such a scale,” he said.

“China could fuel decades of growth for the New Zealand persimmon industry, but only if we get our approach right.”

Mr Albers that was why they would only export a small test shipment into Shanghai in the first year.

“Gisborne growers have welcomed it absolutely. It’s not often that a new market comes along and when it does it’s exciting.”

The first shipment of New Zealand persimmons will be marketed in China by Foodview, a New Zealand specialist marketing company that operates in China and the US.

Foodview’s John Miller said that while the process of market access negotiation has taken many years, concluding negotiations demonstrates a high level of trust by the Chinese Government in New Zealand’s food products.

“The next step is reaching the consumers.

“The first shipment will be used to get extensive customer feedback through 250 retail stores as well as China’s hugely popular WeChat social media platform.

“We want to make sure we understand the market and consumer preferences to ensure the market is ready for us before we arrive in force,” Mr Miller said.

“It’s critical we understand how Chinese consumers react to New Zealand persimmons.

“We grow a firmer variety than the native Chinese persimmon, which is typically eaten when it’s softer and juicier, and we need to understand what Chinese consumers think of the difference and learn how to educate them to appreciate New Zealand product.”

New Zealand’s 50 persimmon growers have 154 hectares under cultivation, 70 percent of which is in the Gisborne area.

New Zealand’s total persimmon exports are around $8 million, mainly to Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

NEW Zealand will make the first export of persimmons to China shortly after a 12-year effort to gain market access, and the consignment will be fruit from Gisborne orchards.

Gisborne-based exporter First Fresh will send the trial shipment of Gisborne persimmons next month following approval from China’s quarantine authority AQSIQ.

“Negotiations for market access began in 2005 and persimmons will be the first new fruit to gain access to the Chinese market since the FTA was signed in 2008,” said First Fresh managing director Ian Albers.

“The China strategy is to start small and gain a clear understanding of consumers before taking the next step.

“We have had interest from China in New Zealand persimmons for years, and the growers are excited to see they have finally gained access to a market with potential at such a scale,” he said.

“China could fuel decades of growth for the New Zealand persimmon industry, but only if we get our approach right.”

Mr Albers that was why they would only export a small test shipment into Shanghai in the first year.

“Gisborne growers have welcomed it absolutely. It’s not often that a new market comes along and when it does it’s exciting.”

The first shipment of New Zealand persimmons will be marketed in China by Foodview, a New Zealand specialist marketing company that operates in China and the US.

Foodview’s John Miller said that while the process of market access negotiation has taken many years, concluding negotiations demonstrates a high level of trust by the Chinese Government in New Zealand’s food products.

“The next step is reaching the consumers.

“The first shipment will be used to get extensive customer feedback through 250 retail stores as well as China’s hugely popular WeChat social media platform.

“We want to make sure we understand the market and consumer preferences to ensure the market is ready for us before we arrive in force,” Mr Miller said.

“It’s critical we understand how Chinese consumers react to New Zealand persimmons.

“We grow a firmer variety than the native Chinese persimmon, which is typically eaten when it’s softer and juicier, and we need to understand what Chinese consumers think of the difference and learn how to educate them to appreciate New Zealand product.”

New Zealand’s 50 persimmon growers have 154 hectares under cultivation, 70 percent of which is in the Gisborne area.

New Zealand’s total persimmon exports are around $8 million, mainly to Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

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