Spring conditions to date have remained favourable for growing fruit overall, although most of us would have preferred a little less rainfall this week! Despite the heavy rainfall, reports of significant damage to orchards are low and soils appear to have coped reasonably well with the surplus water.
There has been no shortage of media coverage on the imminent labour crisis in recent weeks, both good and bad. Whilst our industry bodies are working hard on the issue, progress has been painfully slow and time is fast running especially for summerfruit growers. Your Association is here to support you at times like this. Our Executive Officer, Dianne and the Executive Committee will endeavour to do whatever we can to assist so please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need help or have suggestions. I have been in contact with industry leaders here in Hawke’s Bay and across the country, all of whom are fully aware of the crisis that could soon unfold.
Some Government ministers don’t seem to understand our industry dynamics and labour supply challenges as well as others, and this has not helped the situation. Ministers met with horticulture sector representatives again this week to present the latest industry submission on seasonal labour needs, including proposals that will allow much needed RSE workers into the country before Christmas. I sincerely hope that the submission proposals are accepted by our Government, after all it was the Government that highlighted the important role horticulture plays in New Zealand’s economic recovery. Please look out for updates from HBFA as we may organise grower meeting in the near future.