Harvest 2022 is in full swing with all Royal Gala picked and other varieties well underway. We saw an accelerated rate of maturity with this variety, which in turn, generated high demand for labour for a relatively short harvest period.
Omicron is a concern for our sector, as outbreaks are becoming more prevalent across the entire supply chain. I have heard encouraging reports of growers, corporate businesses and contracting companies supporting each other with labour supply. There are also a lot of people working very hard in the industry supporting our growers – thank you for your commitment to support our horticulture family.
Post-harvest is also facing similar issues with capacity rates, with some sheds running at only 60 to 70%. Logistics around shipping delays only add to this. Some exporters are increasing CA capacity, as it is likely to be a long post-harvest season.
Summerfruit harvest has finished and I’m hearing mixed results from our growers. The kiwifruit harvest has just begun here in Hawke’s Bay. As the harvest continues, remember if you face challenges harvesting your crop, please talk with your grower neighbours, industry contacts and your packhouse. It is likely that someone may have a picking gang who may be able to help for a couple of days. Two weeks ago, I was contacted by two growers who were let down on their first day of picking. Later that day another grower/ contractor phoned me up to say he had six pickers available for the rest of the week – problem solved. Things change daily, so it’s important to talk and ring one another.
I am pleased to welcome Megan Davitzki to our team. We have employed Megan as our new Business and Relationship Manager and are very much looking forward to working with her and believe she has the right capabilities, personality and skills to build on the great work that Jo Pentreath has undertaken over the last few years. There has been a lot of change– a change of premises, system and operation improvements and a complete rebrand two years ago, to better prepare and position HBFA for the future. Change can often be hard, but it is vital for any organisation that wants to remain relevant and thrive.
Finally, I want to thank Jo Pentreath who stepped up 12 months ago to run the general business operations for the Association. Over the past few years Jo has taken the Association to a new level – raising the bar and bringing excellence to the organisation. We have increased sponsorship, our events have been run seamlessly and our operations streamlined. Jo will still be working within the event space and be supporting Megan into her new role.
Take care and look out for each other.