The New Zealand-grown kiwifruit crop is expected to be about 20 million trays or 70,000 tonnes higher than it was last year.
Source: 1 NEWS
In 2017, 123 million trays of New Zealand fruit - or more than 430,000 tonnes - were sold, Zespri Group, the country's statutory kiwifruit exporter, said.
An additional 14 million trays of fruit were grown offshore.
The Mount Maunganui-based company said it will announce the current season's sales figures in May but sales will certainly exceed $2 billion and are expected to grow in the 2018/19 season.
Zespri chief executive Dan Mathieson said the company's two biggest markets, Japan and China, are forecast to grow strongly.
Zespri is also looking for solid growth across the rest of Asia as well as Europe and North America, where supply did not meet demand last year.
"Demand for safe, healthy fruit continues to grow exponentially in China, in terms of both volume and value. However, our Japanese market is going great guns as well - we've seen a 30 per cent sales growth there over the past four years," he said.
Nationwide, the industry employs about 18,000 people and New Zealand's 2,500 kiwifruit growers collectively own about 13,500 hectares of orchard.
Kiwifruit is New Zealand's fastest-growing horticultural export and the Ministry for Primary Industries is forecasting more growth in the next two years, with exports to reach $1.8b in 2019.