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Current Position:Home » News » General News » Topic

Zespri CEO refutes Asoex's accusations of kiwi monopoly

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2017-06-01  Views: 51
Core Tip: n response to the comments published yesterday from President of the Association of Fruit Exporters (Asoex), Ronald Bown, has created a commercial dependency that has led to an increase of New Zealand kiwi.
In response to the comments published yesterday from President of the Association of Fruit Exporters (Asoex), Ronald Bown, who said that "Zespri's monopolistic approach, endorsed by the Government of New Zealand, has created a commercial dependency that has led to an increase of New Zealand kiwi, affecting its main competitor in the southern hemisphere: Chile."

Both Zespri and NZKGI sent written responses to FreshPlaza.com pointing out their sides of the dispute. Zespri CEO, Lain Jager denied Asoex's accusations, stating that Chile's variable quality of fruit was partly to blame and that the incident of which they were accused had already been addressed.

"Kiwifruit is a small category comprising less than one percent of the highly competitive global fruit bowl. Much of the kiwifruit around the world is of variable quality, harvested immature with low dry matter and brix levels. Lifting fruit quality and introducing new varieties are key to growing the kiwifruit category. We note there is some very good Chilean kiwifruit in the market but its inconsistent quality undermines its positioning in the market," Mr. Jager commented.

"Zespri's efforts in promoting the category have resulted in kiwifruit featuring in the top 10 fruit in each of our main markets and Zespri sales continue to grow as more consumers choose our premium offering, lifting kiwifruit’s share of the global fruit bowl."

"New Zealand growers share R&D and Psa learnings with kiwifruit growers around the world – including Chile - to improve the overall category. People from the New Zealand kiwifruit industry recently visited Chile with a key objective of building on this cooperation and improving the quality standard of fruit in the market."

"Zespri is proudly owned by NZ kiwifruit growers and our structure complies with international WTO laws; the one finding of anticompetitive behaviour Mr Bown refers to in Korea was in 2011 and has been addressed. Zespri condemns anti-competitive behaviour and is committed to acting fairly in all markets, abiding by local laws and regulations."

"Mr Bown has a standing invitation to inform us immediately of any specific matters so that we can investigate them. Over the past six years, Mr Bown has provided no details to back up these allegations nor has there been any further finding of anti-competitive behaviour against Zespri anywhere in the world," he finished.

NZKGI CEO Nikki Johnson commented that monitoring Zespri's business practices were the organization's responsibility and that they would be working with the Chilean industry to investigate further.

"New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (NZKGI) is the independent representative of New Zealand kiwifruit growers. It is NZKGI’s role to ensure that Zespri is operating in the best interests of New Zealand kiwifruit growers and that they are operating appropriately and in accordance with all laws and regulations on behalf of New Zealand growers."

"Representatives of NZKGI recently visited Chile and met with representatives of the Chilean industry to confirm our role in monitoring Zespri. A commitment was made to the Chilean industry that any information that they have regarding Zespri’s performance or behaviour in markets would be investigated by NZKGI as an independent party. As yet, no information has been received to enable NZKGI to undertake any investigations but we reiterate our commitment to ensuring that Zespri is operating appropriately."

"The kiwifruit industry structure was supported by 97% of growers that voted in an industry referendum in 2015 and that support continues. Growers believe it offers the best opportunity to deliver consistent premium quality to consumers and return value to growers."

"We also believe that the activities that growers fund through Zespri have benefits to the kiwifruit industry internationally and by working together we can maximise the value of the category to all growers around the world. NZKGI continues to be committed to building relationships with kiwifruit growers around the world for the benefit of all."
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