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War Economy

Fruit Growing Declines

Fruit Growing Declines

The fruit-growing industry received a setback during the war years. The United Kingdom Government considered fruit to be of very low priority for shipping space, with the result that very little was exported. Apples and pears to the value of around £600,000 a year had been exported in pre-war years, but in 1940 only about a third of this value left the country, and in the remaining war years exports were always well under 10 per cent of those pre-war.1

The Internal Marketing Department took over the major problem of selling this extra fruit in New Zealand. Local consumption had to be more than doubled, if the fruit was not to be wasted. There were intensive advertising campaigns. Case lots were sold direct to households, apples were dehydrated, and free issues were made to school children. Clearances were satisfactory, but intensive effort was involved in marketing the fruit. The situation improved to some extent after 1942. Between June 1942 and April 1945, the United States Joint Purchasing Board took about one-seventh of New Zealand's fruit production.

The area in orchards had been falling before the war. It continued to fall in most war years, reaching its lowest point in 1946, at 16 per cent below 1939. The pre-war acreage was not to be reached again until 1955.

1 See also p. 65.