Nashi numbers nearly normal

While national nashi production this year has been about 2000 tonnes, which is a reduction on normal amounts, numbers are expected to return to about 2500 tonnes next year.

Nashi growers in northern Victoria were not affected by the bush fires, although according to Australia’s largest nashi grower, Jamie Craig “the drought had a serious impact on the economics of every orchard, including Nashi Orchards.

“Nashi trees drink about 6megs of water per hectare in a season, so when allocations are restricted and we have to buy in from others the impact on the bottom line can be dramatic.

“This year water has fluctuated between $300 and $600 per meg so there is about $2000 worth of water gone into each hectare.

“Normally the same water delivered under allocation would attract only a delivery fee at about $300 per hectare. The 10 days of superhot 40 degree days were also a serious imposition on productivity.

“When temperatures reach those extremes the trees tend to shut down and the rate of growth of the fruits diminishes and then they just never catch up. Fruit is just like people and when it gets exposed to much sun it burns and that has also been another impost on productivity this season,” he explained.

Nashi has been produced in Australia for past 25 years. When nashi was introduced in the early nineties, amid much optimism, many growers planted at least a few trees.

“What was not generally appreciated, was just how tender nashi are, and how difficult and expensive it would be to produce to the standard that the consumer demands,” said Craig.

“The result has been a gradual attrition in numbers of growers as they found the inputs required consistently exceeded the return achievable.

A few have persisted and there is now a much smaller but more efficient industry where production has reduced to match demand at the premium that the production costs demand.

Nashi holds a similar market share to the corella pear variety, with estimates that the market is growing at about 10% per year.

Send this to a friend