President’s Report, May update

Posted By HBFA | May 22, 2024

Presidents Report:

The 2024 harvest season is over – a relief for many. Most growers will be happy with the way it went, weather was good, there didn’t appear to be any labour shortage issues and fruit was of good quality. Pest and disease incursions will be problematic for some key overseas markets. Putting all this aside, fruit growing (in its current state) is still a very difficult industry to be involved in. The margins are very narrow and even uneconomical in some instances. With increased costs in every area of our businesses we need to take a good hard look at what we are growing, our variety mix and the management of on-orchard efficiencies.

HBFA’s core team are heading to Taupo this week for a 2-day strategy retreat to re-set and look at how we can better serve our growers – especially in the current environment. The association is in a new season – We are 125 years old this year, a lot has changed. Ten years ago, everyone on the HBGA committee were individual growers running their own business, we now have only 4 growers who own their own growing business and 2 of them also have full time jobs working for other entities. We have a great team of men and woman on our board who add real value to HBFA. I also want to thank the large corporates who support their employees being part of HBFA and allowing them time off at times to help serve the wider growing community. Part of our strategy session in Taupo is to re-look at our constitution. There is new legislation in place for Incorporated Societies. With this in place now we need to amend our constitution to fit in with the law changes. At the same time our rules need up-dating as many are not fit for purpose in today’s fruit growing environment. We will keep our members informed of the potential changes as these will need to be voted on.

Last week HBFA hosted a meeting with growers to discuss the Regional Councils proposed rates increase. No one from HBRC’s management side came to present their case to us (invitations were sent out) 4 councillors came to talk through the issues – some for and some against the increase. One Hundred percent of our growers who turned up on the night were going to put submission into the council with a clear “NO” we are against the increase. Callum’s CE report will give more of the details around the proposed increase.

On the 6th&7th of June we will be hosting our HBFA Young Fruit Grower of the year competition. Tickets are on sale now so please hurry and book your tables or seats for the awards dinner night. This will be a great night where we support and celebrate our young up and coming leaders of our industry, and a night that we get to honour HBFA’s chosen nominee for the prestigious Joe Bell Tropey – (Services to industry).

By now most growers should have received their voting papers for the HORTNZ levy renewal either by mail or email. Email voting was sent out by IRO last week on May 15th. I encourage you to vote and give HORTNZ your support. As I stated in one of my previous PR’s, HORTNZ do an outstanding job of supporting the needs of all growers around the Country. If you have any questions or have not received your voting papers or email feel free to contact me.

HBFA held our first golf day last Friday at the Waiheke golf course. I was unable to attend but heard it was a great event with everyone walking home with a prize. We plan to build on this year’s event in the future. The reason we hold events like this is to bring growers and industry people together in an environment away from the orchard, to meet new people and have some fun. We have other events planned further into the year so watch this space.

Ngā mihi

Brydon Nisbet

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