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The New Zealand apple industry expects to harvest almost 17 million cartons this season, Pipfruit New Zealand has announced. That’s a similar volume to a year ago. However, the volume of new apple varieties is increasing.

According to Alan Pollard, chief executive officer, the volume of Braeburn—once New Zealand’s mainstay variety—continues to decline as growers focus on varieties that have more appeal, particularly in Asia. This year’s Braeburn crop is forecast at 3.4 million cartons, down from 8 million in 2005.

Conditions in the apple-growing regions have been perfect this year, Pollard reported, and exporters have been receiving good levels of inquiries from Asia, Europe, and North America. The industry continues to ship higher volumes to Asia and the Middle East, which took 40 percent of New Zealand’s apple exports in 2012, up from 33 percent the year before. Fewer New Zealand apples are being shipped to Europe.

The Hawke’s Bay growing district is expected to supply 61 percent of New Zealand’s 2013 crop, with 31 percent coming from Nelson, 4 percent from Central Otago, and the remainder from other regions such as Waikato, Gisborne, and Wairarapa.