Seasonal labour supply continues to dominate discussions amongst growers, packers and both local and national government. The message is very clear; allow workers from Covid-free pacific nations to enter New Zealand prior to the start of next season and get the wheels in motion now to make sure our industry doesn’t face the same unnecessary losses suffered this season. Horticulture will help our national economy recover post Covid, but we need a supportive Government to facilitate this, so let’s hope that this message is well received by those in Wellington who will make the necessary changes.
On a positive note, I am proud to be a part of a local industry that has really pulled out all the stops to provide local people with every opportunity to find a job and meaningful employment. Although we haven’t been able to fill all our vacancies, some newcomers to the industry will stay and forge exciting new careers. Covid has forced us think and act locally and I applaud all growers and fruit packers who have responded to this challenge in a positive manner despite the huge challenges they have faced.
Jo and the team have been working hard on preparations for the Hawke’s Bay Young Fruit Grower of the Year Competition which is now less than two months away. If you haven’t already, book your tickets for the Awards Dinner which this year will be held at the Toitoi Arts and Events Centre. We are thrilled with both the calibre and number of entries to date and the Awards Dinner promises to be a really fun and entertaining night! Applications for contestants can be received up till the 30 April, so there is still time to get your young future leaders into the competition.
At the end of June HBFA will be moving out of the office we have occupied for many years at the PGG Wrightson’s site in Hastings. It has been a great office but the time has come to move on and I look forward to the start of this new chapter for the Association. We are still working on a new operating structure for the Association that will make best use of our resources and enable us to respond readily to the changing needs of members and the industry.
Best of luck to all those growers who still have crops to be harvested and please make contact with HBFA if we can help in any way.