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6.29      Chestnuts

6.29.1      Chestnut industry profile

The New Zealand chestnut industry is small and predominantly based around hobby growers in the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Auckland areas. However, chestnut trees will grow successfully across most of New Zealand with some plantings established in Northland, Wairarapa, Horowhenua and Canterbury.

Fresh nut production is around 350 tonnes annually, produced by about 100 growers with trees planted in an area of 142 hectares. Small quantities of fresh nuts were exported annually up to 2019, however, the emphasis has largely now shifted away from fresh export to frozen export and/or value-added processing (e.g. chestnut flour and chestnut crumbs). New technology may provide solutions for storage issues.

The recognised grower body is the New Zealand Chestnut Council. The New Zealand Chestnut Council’s aims are to encourage, promote and advance New Zealand's chestnut industry, which includes promoting the sale and consumption of fresh and processed New Zealand grown chestnuts, both in New Zealand and overseas. Chestnuts are a prescribed product under the Horticulture Export Authority Act.

Exports

Table 6.29.1: Chestnuts (0802.41.00.00) export markets 2018-2020 (year ending June, tonnes and $NZ FOB)

Market

2018

2019

2020

Volume

Value

Volume

Value

Volume

Value

New Caledonia

1.1

7,901

0.4

5,151

0

0

Cook Islands

0

0

0.03

168

0

0

Total

1.1

$7,901

0.5

$5,319

0.0

$0

% change (yr/yr)

527%

521%

-58%

-33%

-

-

 

Barriers to export

SPS market access barriers

Most New Zealand chestnuts are exported (fresh or frozen) or processed, with limited volume sold on the domestic market. The New Zealand Chestnut Council helps growers and exporters focus on developing a range of fresh and processed products to avoid the pitfall of over-reliance on a single market type. For example, since most New Zealand chestnuts are grown spray-free and as there is no chestnut blight in New Zealand, the industry is able to supply the health market for premium prices, as well as food markets.

Export markets for New Zealand chestnuts in the USA and Australia declined around 2007 due to the USA and Australia’s requirement to devitalise nuts with methyl bromide. Any continuing fresh exports go to countries that do require methyl bromide fumigation, mostly throughout Europe, Asia and the Pacific.