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Challenges for the Apple Industry

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The New Zealand apple industry faces challenges in the future from changes in climate and what apples people want to buy.

The main challenges that the apple industry will face come from:

  • New pests and diseases arriving from overseas
  • Climate change
  • Less land to grow apples on
  • Water
  • Changes in what people want to buy.

Apple pests and diseases

Insect pests can damage apples so they cannot be exported. Leaf rollers and codling moths are common pests. Other pests include scale insects and woolly apple aphids.

Climate Change

In the future changing climate will affect the way apples grow. Climate change will lead to changes in:

  • temperatures
  • the timing and amount of rainfall
  • the levels of greenhouse gases in the air
  • number of frosts.

Climate change may allow more fruit to grow but there will be more pests and diseases. Managing these pests and diseases will become more important. With less reliable rainfall orchards will need irrigation. More extreme weather and storm damage will affect the number of apples that can be grown.

Land use

With more people living in New Zealand we will need to grow more food. The problem is that there will be less land to grow food on because we will need to build more houses. As cities grow and spread out there is less land to grow food on. Areas with good soil need to be kept for growing food rather than used for housing.


Water is a precious resource. The demand for water is growing so people and industry will need to manage their use of water carefully. In the future we will need to store more water so there is still enough water when it's dry.


People around the world want to buy different things. In the future people may want different kinds of apples. The apple industry will need to adapt to what people want to buy and develop new apple varieties. People also expect their apples to be grown with less chemicals. Apple growers will need to use less fertilisers and pesticides.

Research and new technology will help New Zealand to meet these challenges.

Ready for a quiz? Try the "Challenges for the Apple Industry" interactive activity.

Audio Māori keywords: 

How many different apple varieties are available in your local supermarket?

Storing and Exporting Apples

A World of Industry


The apple industry will face challenges in the future. What do you think will be the biggest challenge? Image: Terry Han http://nzphotos.co.nz/.

People will expect to be able to buy new varieties of apples in the future. What qualities would you want to see in new apple varieties? Image: Terry Han http://nzphotos.co.nz/.

Technology will help the apple industry to adapt to changes in the future. What technology already exists to improve apple quality? Image: Plant and Food Research.

There will be less land available to grow food on in the future. Why do you think this will be the case? Image: Public Domain.