President’s Report, February

Posted By HBFA | February 22, 2024

Kia ora koutou,

It is hard to believe that one year has passed since the devastating cyclone Gabrielle hit our region. This past week saw many Commemorations take place, official gatherings and community’s all coming together to remember what happened on Feb 14th, 2023.

We remember those who lost their lives, we remember those who lost their homes and orchards especially those who can no longer build back on their land or where it has become impossible to ever grow back on their land. We remember the many orchardists and growers who combined lost thousands of hectares of trees not to mention the hundreds of thousands of tons of fruit and vegetables. As I look around the region, I’m encouraged to see how much work has been done to remediate broken orchards, where at one stage it looked a near impossibility for these orchards to ever be reinstated. I’m extremely proud of the way our growers have stood up and got on with the job at hand. This came at a great cost to our us, yes there have been government funds that have helped contribute to clearing some of the mountains of silt, which we are all grateful for, but the cost to clear trees, fix broken posts and wires, repair or replaced irrigation systems, flush wells, plant new trees, grass down and fixed ruined orchard tracks has been no easy task.

Some growers still have many years left as they wait for new trees to replant where their orchards were completely wiped out. The orchards that are up and running are looking good, trees for the most part have bounced back and are holding decent crops. We need everything to go our way now, a good dry “weather” harvest, a packing season with higher-than-average packouts and strong robust marketing and sales programmes focused on getting the best returns possible for our growers. But I believe we are on the way to “Growing back Bigger, Better and Stronger”

In early February HBFA held out annual industry awards night at Toi Toi. We had a record 250 in attendance who came along to support this event. Here is a short brief of the night. A big thankyou to Bex Tacan and her team for helping make this event such a success.

Our Emerging Achiever award went to a well-deserved Hannah Greaves – Fruit Fed supplies.

Our Fourneau award for innovation was awarded to Croptide for the sensor, designed for plants such as kiwifruit, and apple trees, which reads the hydration status directly from the plant’s stem.

Receiving certificates for completing their studies in 2023

· 4 x L5 diploma graduates for fruit production

· 5 x L5 diploma graduates for post-harvest.

· 23 x L4 graduates for Fruit production

· 1 x L4 graduate for post-harvest.

HBFA awarded a record number of scholarships this year.

· 7 x HORTNZ scholarships.

· 35 x HBFACT scholarships.

· 2 x HBFACT degree scholarships.

I want to commend all the students for continuing to commit to their studies through what was a very difficult year. A special mention to all the EIT and ITO tutors and the on-job trainers who helped these young people achieve their qualifications – the industry needs you and we value all the work you do.

I want to officially welcome Callum Ross our new chief executive who started with us at the end of January. He is extremely excited to be part of HBFA and has a real desire to make a difference in whatever way he can. You will be seeing and hearing from him as he gets around and makes himself known.

Our next event is our HB Young Fruit Grower – to be held on the 6th and 7th of June – you will be hearing more on this very soon.

HBFA has been around since 1899 so 2024 will see HBFA’s 125th anniversary – Our team will be looking at how we can celebrate this later in the year so watch this space.

HBFA are believing for 2024 to be a great and prosperous year for all our growers, All the best for your harvest.

Kia Kaha,

Brydon Nisbet
HBFA President 

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