The strawberry industry
Approximately 65% of strawberry plantings are in the greater Auckland region, followed by about 15% in Waikato, and the balance in Hawkes Bay, Manawatu/Horowhenua, Northland, Nelson, Marlborough, Canterbury and Southland. The Auckland region is dominant because of its climate, soil types, labour pool and proximity to key markets.
Strawberries are mainly grown in raised beds enclosed with plastic, however growing strawberries hydroponically is increasing in popularity in New Zealand. Strawberries are usually grown as an annual crop but may be grown for two to three years particularly in cooler southern regions. Fruit quality may decline after the primary season and second year crops can have issues with maintaining berry size and plant health (with increased pest and disease challenges).
The major varieties grown are Camarosa, Gaviota and Pajaro.
Industry and grower size is measured by number of plants grown annually.
In 2018 growers reported the following:
- Total plants approx. 15 million.
- Vol: Approx. 8500mt
- Industry value: $35mil +
- Export: $8.79mil FOB value and 718 tonnes (2018 calendar year)
- Export Markets: Asia – Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.