Illegal plantings of Sun Gold Kiwifruit, the jewel in the crown for Zespri, have almost doubled in the past six months in China. Zespri owns the rights to Sun Gold, and growers here pay hundreds of thousands of dollars per hectare to grow it. Six months ago it was estimated 2500 hectares of unauthorised plantings were in China but now that has climbed to 4000 hectares. New Zealand has 7500 hectares of Sun Gold. Zespri Chief Executive Dave Courtney, says it looks like these orchards can produce good quality fruit and while they are not high producers if they learn to grow it well, they could push New Zealand fruit off supermarket shelves, and lower prices. Getting rid of the plantings is too big a task now but Zespri is about to start legal action against a nursery in China, using the Plant Variety Right law to slow plantings down. China recognises New Zealand’s ownership but says it’s difficult as it is small scale peasant communities that are growing the vines. Dave Courtney says they hope to work together to mitigate the impact of the spread of the vines and maybe add value to local growers as well. Meanwhile, the vitamin C factor in Kiwi Fruit is proving popular and sales of the fruit are ahead of expectations and prices are holding well in Europe and South Korea although Zespri says that could well change as the impact of pandemic takes hold and wage subsidies come off that may well change.