Establishing and operating a sweet Cherry Orchard in Central Otago – Simon Witheford

Executive Summary

This business plan, to establish and operate a cherry orchard in Central Otago, intends to achieve the following objectives:

  • Understand the costs of establishing and operating a cherry
  • Gain an overview of the challenges and risks within the
  • Understand the market dynamics for NZ produced cherries and what the future market trends might

To be fully informed, and in order to make reasonable judgements, the report was compiled using the following methods:

  • Personal interviews with current orchardists to understand current practices, risks that affect production and developments in growing
  • Speaking with horticulture consultants to appreciate the current trends in orchard systems and the more successful approaches to
  • Technical literature review of new planting systems and the development of automation and technology in
  • Direct discussion with product suppliers and manufacturers, agronomists, orchardists and accountants to compile accurate development and operational
  • Interviews of industry leaders who have a good overview of market dynamics and industry challenges

The conclusions drawn from this report include;

  • A continual strong demand from export markets for premium NZ cherries that current supply cannot completely satisfy. A trend which is expected to
  • Chile is a key competitor to NZ grown cherries producing high volumes and exporting at a similar time of year. This highlights the necessity for NZ to continue to focus on premium quality fruit and high value
  • There is a greater need of collaboration and market co-ordination for NZ
  • Capital cost of establishing a cherry orchard is
  • Growing risks are high though many can be
  • New planting systems offer increased yields and reduced operating costs though have approximately 20% higher capital

The report is intended to help any people thinking about entering this sector and establishing an orchard.

Establishing and operating a sweet Cherry Orchard in Central Otago – Simon Witheford

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