President’s Report, March

Posted By HBFA | March 21, 2024

Presidents Report

Harvest is in full swing – the weather is giving us fine days and cool nights – near perfect conditions. A lot different than this time last year or in fact the last few years.

Harvest time is great – its when we see the fruit of our labours, the community is vibrant and full of our wonderful workers from the pacific. Our RSE scheme is recognized as best practice by ILO (International Labour Organization) & the World bank. The benefits to our workers and the communities they return home to are immense. The benefits to our industry are huge, in that it gives growers assurance that their (on orchard thinning, picking etc) will get completed (a job kiwis on the whole are not really keen on doing) This means growers can get on with growing and expanding their businesses thus creating more full time jobs for our locals. To me this is a win-win for all.

I want to draw your attention to 2 Levy Order renewals coming up. Currently NZAPI are presenting at grower meetings discussing their Levy renewal. Please attend these events and hear what they have to say about where your Levy money is going as an apple grower. The HORTNZ (Horticulture New Zealand) Levy Order renewal is to be voted on soon as well. HORTNZ are also currently travelling the country talking with growers. I am a director on the board of HORTNZ and I can tell you that the team at head office in Wellington are extremely passionate about what they do in the horticulture space and for us as growers. There is a huge amount of work that goes on down there (a lot of it is unseen) HORTNZ are proactively influencing policy, seeking the very best operating conditions in areas such as the environment, biosecurity, food safety, crop protection to name a few. They lead the RSE space working with other product groups to get the best outcomes possible. They read, review, and continually make draft policy submissions on a wide range of policy’s that affect us all. They are the face of Horticulture (growers) to the Government and are currently building strong relationships with officials and ministers of the newly formed coalition government.

We have for the first time a Minister of Horticulture Nicola Grigg, this is fantastic for all growers and can only be good for our industry. HORTNZ have been asking for a minister of Horticulture for a while now so its good to see this has got over the line. This relationship will be especially critical as HORTNZ are advocating for various policy settings especially over the certainty of water supply to growers with the investment in water storage being a front runner. This is a key issue for our growers right now especially with what HBRC is pushing ahead with in our own region.

Please look out for the proposal documents to be sent out in April with voting starting on May 14th to June 14th. If you have any questions about the upcoming levy renewal please don’t hesitate to contact me. HBFA have a strong relationship with HORZTNZ. They are experts when it comes to water regulation, and we benefit with this from Charlette Drury who is contracted to HORTNZ. Charlette writes a monthly piece in this newsletter – I encourage you to read her articles.

When Cyclone Gabrelle hit HBFA led the industry in wellness, technical support packages, grower relief / support and networking events. We engaged Wanda Douglas within days of the cyclone bringing much help to some of our impacted growers. We opened this up to all of horticulture. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised and gifted to HBFA over this time. We knew that this would be a long game and we would have to be prudent with the funds entrusted to us. Our team here at HBFA have made sure that we have sufficient funds to carry us for at least the next 1 to 2 years supporting our growers especially in the wellness and networking space. Callum will share more about this in his first CE report.

We have opened the registration for our 2024 Young fruit grower competition, please share this to your employees and encourage them to apply and give it a go. Our event is on the 6th&7th of June.

Take care and enjoy the rest of your harvest.

Kia kaha

Brydon Nisbet

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