As 2021 comes to an end, our eyes are all on what 2022 will bring. It’s been another unprecedented year like no other with:
- Labour shortages – especially through our busy harvest period
- Shipping delays – interrupting sales programmes
- Internal quality issues amongst some varieties with lower returns affecting many growers bottom line
- Higher costs in labour, products and services
- Covid 19 – both the Delta and Omicron variant and boarders opening and closing bringing uncertainty to many.
New Zealand needs to get back to business – we need our working holiday day visa holders back and more skilled migrant labour available for the primary sectors. The rest of the world has moved on and we need to as well. The Government is allowing 14,400 RSE to come into our industry without the need to go through MIQ – this is a win for us. There is a possibility that this could increase at some stage next year with unemployment rates being so low. I want to thank NZAPI and HortNZ for their tireless work in the repatriation of our RSE’s and the logistics of bringing so many workers to New Zealand.
As I write this, I feel for the stonefruit growers who will be affected with the rain we are currently experiencing- it couldn’t have come at a worse time. Apple growers will be wary of rots, secondary blackspot and the continued spread of fire blight – so it’s a time to be vigilant. The positive of course, is you can’t beat rain for irrigation and mixed with humidity, should equate to a good growing season!
I would like to acknowledge one of our long-standing contributors to our newsletter, Gordon Reid (EIT horticulture tutor). Gordon has been training students for over 18 years and has seen many people successfully go through our trainee – cadetship programme. Gordon is retiring at the end of January so he can focus his energy on fishing and biking. We thank you Gordon for your unwavering commitment and passion to the industry (Gordon was awarded the HBFA Joe Bell Award in 2016 for services to the industry). I’m sure we will see you around the traps, and possibly on a tractor helping out at some stage in the future!
Terry Meikle started his role as CEO to NZAPI this week. We warmly welcome Terry and look forward to working with him collaboratively next year.
Many of our HBFA executive team work in fulltime, demanding jobs. The Association has undergone a number of changes over the past few years. Our executive team are no longer individual growers, many work for larger organisations and are constrained by available hours outside their day job, young children and family commitments. We continue to realign HBFA so our core priorities are still being undertaken, whilst ensuring these foundations will be enduring.
With that in mind, we have recently engaged Charlotte Drury who will be assisting the Association in the RMA space. For several years, Charlotte has been contracting to HortNZ and we are thrilled to have Charlotte providing advice and recommendations on horticulture matters pertinent to Hawke’s Bay. Charlotte will also be providing monthly updates in our newsletter.
We are currently working on other areas of realignment within HBFA and this work will continue into the New Year.
Finally, I want to thank all the executives who give their time and energy on behalf of our members and growers. Sheryl Mackie and Jo Pentreath have both bought a level of professionalism and excellence to HBFA which has provided a solid platform to strengthen our core activities.
I look forward to our Industry Awards Night on the 27 January at the Toitoi Arts & Events Centre and hope to see you there.
Have a great Christmas and New Year. Lets look forward to a positive 2022!