[1 November/Rural News]

A new grower co-operative, which is currently a subcommittee of Summerfruit NZ’s board, is being set up to commercialise three new apricot varieties in coming seasons. The fruit which currently have no brand names and the company which is yet to have a trading name established is being launched with the intention of arresting a decline in the apricot industry which has continued for a number of years. Interim board chair, Nigel Hinton, said some of the varieties are showing excellent characteristics and he is confident that they will assist in a revitalisation of the sector. The breeding programme has been underway for 20 years but chair of Summerfruit NZ, Tim Jones, said it was exciting to see the results. The new fruit will vary New Zealand’s production season and put the fruit into a window when it is not competing with domestic fruit in the key Australian export market.