New figures show kiwifruit exports are surging ahead, with values cracking $2 billion for the first time.
An ASB commodity report shows kiwifruit's success this season is due to both stronger export volumes and export prices.
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In particular, gold export volumes have been strong, lifting 26% to date this season on the back of the record high crop.
Meanwhile, green export volumes are also up a healthy 6%.
A key factor in the growth has been the sector's ability to maintain healthy prices while growing export volumes.
The success is also being put down to the opening up of new markets such as China alongside the ongoing popularity of the gold variety
The report also shows total annual horticulture export values have surpassed $3.5 billion, after passing $2bn in 2014 and $3bn in 2016.
The bank says it now views the kiwifruit and broader horticulture sector as New Zealand's fourth export engine.
"Accordingly, horticulture's rapid growth to date and its ongoing potential for further growth is increasing its importance relative to the traditional heavyweights of dairy, forestry and meat," the report said.