Presidents Report, February

Posted By HBFA | February 15, 2022

The 2022 harvest is underway in Hawke’s Bay with early pear and peach varieties unfortunately bearing the brunt of the recent wet and windy conditions and growers recording some fruit loss. The first of the early variety apples were picked before the recent wet weather event and it is exciting to see some promising colour and size profiles.

Omicron is here – 981 cases today as I write this report. With harvest underway and the busiest period of the year for our industry, the Government today announced the country will enter Phase 2 – tonight. What does this mean for our industry?

Workers at registered critical services who are close contacts of a COVID-19 case will be able to continue to work as part of MBIE’s Close Contact Exemption Scheme with the use of rapid antigen testing.  In addition any person who is identified as a close contact, and is vaccinated and whom can work alone, or have the capacity to do so, will be able to continue operating in a ‘bubble of one’.

To be considered in the close contact exemption scheme for critical services, your business must be registered. Please visit HortNZ’s website https://www.hortnz.co.nz/covid19/omicron/ for details.

Our Industry Awards Night was postponed in January due to the swift move into the red traffic light setting and we endeavour to hold this in June- more details are included in this newsletter along with the inaugural recipient of the Emerging Achiever Award who was presented this award due to her unavailability on the night. We also would like to congratulate Brendan Hamilton, for his H2Ortigator project, the Fourneau Trophy for outstanding innovation.  We look forward to recognising these recipients at the rescheduled Awards Night on the 9 June.

The Association is excited to announce the appointment of Megan Dravitzki as the new Business and Relationship Manager. Megan will be responsible for the day-to-day operations and implementing HBFA’s strategic plan. We are fortunate that Jo will be supporting Megan in a handover period over the next couple of months. We look forward to introducing Megan in our next newsletter.

You don’t need me to tell you that this season will be challenging – we all know about the labour, COVID and logistic issues but as growers we are resilient – but resilience doesn’t mean you can’t or don’t ask for help. It doesn’t mean you don’t check up on your friends and neighbours. I’ve already heard of growers going out of their way to help other growers with labour whom they hardly know – our industry needs this we need to have a culture of sharing, caring and being willing to support one another. I encourage you to do this when you can.

All the best for the harvest.

Brydon Nisbet
HBFA President 

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