[29 May/Farmers Weekly]

Vegetable seed exports have helped push the horticultural sector to a record earnings year, lifting total sales by $400 million to top $9.2 billion in the year ended on June 30 last year. Kiwifruit claims the top spot, making $1.86 billion in export earnings, up 40 percent on the five year average. Wine is the second export success, delivering exports worth $1.69 billion whilst apples are next at $732 million. Total vegetable seed earnings were up 43 percent at a record $94 million, well ahead of the sector’s five-year average. Carrot seed sales increased by more than two times on the previous year. NZ now accounts for 55 percent of the globe’s carrot seed production and a third of the radish production. Onion and other vegetable seeds are also growing with Asian style greens contributing significantly. Grain and Seed Trade Association General Manager Thomas Chin reported the lift in vegetable seed sales has come as northern hemisphere seed company’s ramp up vegetable seed production. Prospects for the next big seed crop are leaning towards hemp due to changes in legislation surrounding human consumption.