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NZ Pipfruit growers begin voting on levy

Media release – July 11, 2006

NZ Pipfruit growers begin voting on levy


New Zealand pipfruit growers today begin voting on a levy to decide the future direction of the country’s apple and pear industry.

A majority support of the levy will help Pipfruit New Zealand grow the export industry. Grower meetings have been held in the Waikato, Gisborne, Hastings, Nelson and Central Otago in the last fortnight to explain benefits of the levy.

The levy needs to be renewed to provide Pipfruit NZ funds to nurture the NZ industry with new varieties and ultra low residue production systems. Growers will vote this month on a continuation of the levy as a means of funding Pipfruit NZ for the next six years. Voting closes on July 28.

``We rely so much on the levy to carry out all our activities and that’s why it is so critical to the industry’s future,’’ Beaven said.

If Pipfruit NZ could not afford to push into markets in Australia, Japan and Korea or support new varieties, it would have a dramatic impact in the future.

``Our industry will not survive if it continues to rely on common bulk varieties such as royal gala and braeburn,’’ he said.

Largest contributors to the export crop are expected to be Hawke’s Bay with 8 million cases, and Nelson with 5 million. Together, they make up 92 per cent of the domestic harvest.
Although New Zealand has lost its competitive advantage for braeburn and royal gala varieties, the new jazz apple and other new apple and pear varieties such as sweetie, are showing real promise.
An independent report commissioned by Pipfruit NZ found that a levy is the most appropriate way to meet the industry’s needs.

The New Zealand pipfruit export crop for 2006 is down about 18 percent on last year at a little more than 14 million cases. Markets are stable. Royal Gala has sold through very well, particularly in Europe, and Braeburn movement is satisfactory.

Pipfruit orchards in 2006 consist of total plantings of 11740 hectares.

Pipfruit New Zealand has budgeted on receiving $2.9 million in levy funds this year and will spend $2.2million of it directly on research and development.

Of the $2.2million, $900,000 is invested in its commercial development company Prevar, while a further $1.3million will be invested in other research projects.

The $900,000 Pipfruit NZ puts into the breeding programme with Prevar leverages a further $7.2 million of Foundation for Research Science and Technology money over six years.

The $1.3million of other research spent by Pipfruit NZ leverages a further $2.76 million of research funds from Government sources.

ENDS

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