Presidents Report, May

Posted By Jo Pentreath | May 20, 2020

So far 2020 has presented us with a world of new challenges and hurdles to overcome as an industry, as a country and as a global society. As we move through these troubling times it is impossible to know what the world will look like post Covid-19.

Covid-19 has taken the main focus for all since lock down but this has not been the only emergency happening across the country, wide spread drought conditions have also put extreme pressure on some growers and has effected our neighbors in agriculture quite severely. We at the HBFA are a part of the HBRAG which helps with responses to things such as droughts.

As I sit here writing this, our industry in Hawkes Bay has reached the end of harvest. This has been no small feat in the current climate.

Growers, packers and exporters have all had their seasons turned upside down and have had to adapt and react in a very short space of time, we are good at this as an industry as we deal with disruption on a daily basis when dealing with the range of variable of growing such as the weather. Nevertheless, the shift within business to ensure safety of staff and product has been nothing short of amazing. You all need to pat yourselves on the back. No, it was not perfect, some mistakes were made but we hunkered down, we have adapted and we will succeed.

With fruit off the trees the focus now is on cool store capacity, packhouse throughput, quality control and our export and sales plans. Covid-19 social distancing practices inside packhouses is challenging and from what I have seen and been told this part of our industry is also shining and leading the way. As we have moved into alert level 2 and hopefully level 1 in the foreseeable weeks, the world will start to come back online and operate. We are in a great place as an industry to share our learnings and help the recovery of our economy.

HBFA has launched our online communication platforms such as Facebook and Instagram as well as updating and refreshing our website www.hbfa.co.nz . This has helped us communicate important information out to you. It has helped share stories of success and innovation during these trying times. Collaboration on noncompetitive aspects of our business is a key attribute of horticulture in New Zealand and Hawkes Bay. Please check out our pages, like, share and follow to support your local association and to stay up to date with the latest news and information.

Lastly HBFA would like to thank Alan Pollard and his team at NZAPI for their tireless work representing apples and pears and helping growers navigate these trying times to harvest, pack and sell their fruit. Thank you to Mike Chapman and his team at Hort NZ for all of their hard work supporting NZAPI, KGI and the wider industry through this major disruption. Most importantly I would like to thank all of you for your efforts during Covid-19, rallying as an industry and shining. That is all on you. Well done.

Kia Kaha

Ben James, President HBFA

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