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Pipfruit growers welcomed into rural e-community

October 8, 2001

Pipfruit growers welcomed into rural e-community as Fencepost and Enza form partnership

Pipfruit growers are being welcomed into New Zealand's biggest rural e-community with a new on-line partnership between Fencepost.com and ENZA.

Fencepost.com is New Zealand's leading agricultural website while ENZA is the nation's main exporter of apples and pears.

The partnership has seen the ENZAlink website become part of the Fencepost.com site offering growers the opportunity to stay in close touch with ENZA while gaining access to Fencepost.com's wider on-line tools and services for the rural community.

The migration of ENZAlink to Fencepost.com began on October 1 and over the next few months ENZA and Fencepost.com will work with growers to explore ways of applying Fencepost's leading edge technology to help pipfruit growers.

Fencepost chief executive Alison Andrew says Fencepost's on-line farm and information management model - developed to help dairy farmers manage their business and achieve all-important productivity increases - can easily be applied to other industries.

The site also has a range of services already applicable to all rural New Zealanders, such as local weather, rural news and information, agricultural and horticultural discussion groups, on-line rural classified advertising and the Rural Jobs on-line employment service.

"Fencepost is committed to helping New Zealand farmers farm smarter and we're thrilled to welcome pipfruit growers to our stable," says Alison Andrew. "Over the last year we've been changing the way New Zealand farmers do business through a range of on-line initiatives. We will be working closely with ENZA and growers over the coming months to explore ways to help pipfruit growers achieve productivity increases and improve the management of their orchards."

ENZA communications manager John Walsh says ENZA will continue to manage ENZAlink content within the high-tech Fencepost environment.

"ENZAlink is dedicated to and supported by around 50 per cent of New Zealand's registered pipfruit growers. We know from customer feedback that ENZAlink is highly valued by the growers who are already on-line.

"As we head into deregulation we are encouraging even more growers to use this service. We've seen what Fencepost has been able to do for the farming sector and we're very keen for our growers to be able to take advantage of this technology."

John Walsh says the Fencepost partnership is also a more cost-effective way for ENZA to operate the ENZAlink service - and carries the added advantage of teaming up with a site with a proven track record for serving rural New Zealand.

Pipfruit growers are anticipating some key benefits from the move.

Hawkes Bay organic apple grower Bruce Ellingham says he'll be keen to try any on-line tools and services which make his job easier. "I'm not a big user of the internet but I think it might be helpful. As long as it's totally confidential, which I understand it is, I think it would be quite useful."

Twyford apple grower Ru Collin also sees great potential. "I think the potential is very good. The keys to its success will be maintaining the web site service and getting growers to use it. A lot of websites start off with a hiss and a roar but they are never maintained properly so you need professional people to keep them up to date which I guess is one of Fencepost's strengths."

For more information on ENZAlink and Fencepost.com, see the website www.fencepost.com.

ends

Released for Fencepost.com and ENZA by Pead PR

Backgrounder lead - 1

October 8, 2001

ENZA leading way into deregulation

With the pipfruit industry on the verge of deregulation and growers expecting their best returns in three years, export giant ENZA is preparing to lead the industry into the new trading era.

ENZA is the nation's largest exporter of pipfruit. Its export sales for the 2000 year reached $660 million and the current season's exports are expected to be in the order of $530 million with average returns for growers reaching $20 a carton - the best returns since 1998.

"ENZA is well placed to lead the industry into deregulation," says ENZA managing director Michael Dossor. "We enter the new era with a highly respected brand in the international fruit business, unparalleled in market structures and relationships built up over 50 years in the business. Our on-shore logistics business is also second to none.

"New Zealand produces just two per cent of the world's pipfruit yet we are the seventh largest exporter of fresh pipfruit and have a major impact on the global market," he says. "For the last six years running, New Zealand's been ranked the most competitive exporter against all nations by the independent World Apple Review. Clearly, ENZA has been a big part of that."

Michael Dossor says ENZA and its predecessor the New Zealand Apple and Pear Marketing Board have typically provided the benchmark for other Southern Hemisphere exporters such as Chile, Argentina and Australia. "We have led competing countries in the development of new varieties, logistics and fruit quality and have traditionally achieved premiums over those competitors."

ENZA currently exports more than 30 pipfruit varieties including five pear and two Asian pears (Nashi) and is among the largest exporters of organic pipfruit. In the current year ENZA has exported 12 million cartons of apples and pears to more than 50 countries on behalf of around 1100 growers, which represents about 80 per cent of New Zealand's total pipfruit exports.

ENZA has fully owned or joint venture sales and marketing operations in North America, Asia, the United Kingdom and Europe. It also has significant logistics services in New Zealand including coolstores, controlled temperature storage and fruit handling facilities as well as major processing facilities for pipfruit and other fruit and vegetable concentrates in the Hawkes Bay.

ends

October 8, 2001

Website leads rural e-volution

A criticism often levelled at websites is that they provide novelty rather than genuinely useful services for users.

But Fencepost.com is one website that can fairly claim to be making a difference to its users' lives and businesses. Since launching in August 2000 Fencepost.com has introduced a raft of on-line services and tools which are genuinely changing the way farmers do business.

Established by Kiwi Dairies , Fencepost.com was set up with two key goals: to create an on-line rural community and to help farmers achieve the four per cent increase in productivity which consultants McKinsey & Co identified as vital to farmers' survival.

In the year Fencepost.com has been operating, it has made major advances both goals - and has been steadily rolling out its services to embrace all sectors of the rural community.

"The fact that we attract more than 160,000 individual site visits per month indicates that thousands of New Zealand farmers are embracing these initiatives and incorporating them into their daily business management routine," says Fencepost chief executive Alison Andrew.

Fencepost's initiatives to date include:

Productivity tools for dairy farmers including daily volume records, somatic cell counts and solids per litre along with historic figures which allow farmers to compare current and past productivity and benchmark against their local area as well as other dairy producing areas. While this technology was developed specifically for dairy farmers, it is easily adapted to other primary industries. Over the next few months Fencepost.com will be working with ENZA and pipfruit growers to apply this technology to the pipfruit industry.

Live.ex, the livestock exchange service which has ushered in a new era in livestock trading with many farmers saving thousands of dollars by dealing direct with other farmers rather than going through a stock and station agent. Since its launch in March, close to 1,100 farmers have registered and more than 150,000 stock including sheep, dairy and beef cattle and deer have been advertised for sale or purchase.

Fencepost.com Classifieds - launched last December in which rural New Zealanders are trading everything from farm machinery to dogs and horses, farm feed and vehicles.

Discussion groups, in which rural New Zealanders from all agricultural sectors and all parts of the country exchange opinions and information on common farming problems and issues.

Rural Jobs, New Zealand's first credible national rural employment service, launched in June and bringing rural employers and job seekers together all over the country.

"Whether farmers want to trade, talk to other farmers or keep up with the latest farming news the Internet is where more and more are turning," says Alison Andrew.

"Fencepost is clearly their first choice, accounting for around 50 per cent of traffic to agricultural websites which is evidence that we have indeed achieved our goal of creating a genuine rural community on-line."

ends

Released for Fencepost.com by pead pr

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