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New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated AGM


New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated Annual General Meeting


22 July 2015

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (NZKGI) held its Annual General Meeting today, Wednesday 22 July 2015, updating growers on its key projects and reflected on a successful year.

NZKGI President, Neil Trebilco, says grower confidence and orchard values have continued to increase over the last twelve months.

“The main factors in this increasing optimism are the reduced effects of Psa and increasing OGRs per tray, particularly for Green.

“The increase in Green per tray returns this last year has been driven by a combination of a substantial reduction in Hayward Green production in Chile, strong in-market pricing plus low fruit loss on and off shore. Counterbalancing this however, is the strong NZ dollar compared to the Yen and Euro - this will likely impact returns in coming years. Heightened activity in kiwifruit orchard sales has continued and per hectare prices are continuing to substantially increase.”

NZKGI’s key projects for the reporting period are summarised below.

Safeguarding the Single Point of Entry

The kiwifruit industry’s Single Point of Entry (SPE) structure is key to its continued success and is a major focus for NZKGI. Growers’ unequivocal support of the SPE was demonstrated earlier this year with an overwhelming 97% of growers voting to retain it in the Kiwifruit Industry Strategy Project (KISP) referendum. The result sent a clear message that growers recognise the value of the SPE, helping to secure ongoing Government support.

KISP has been a significant area of work for NZKGI over the last 12 months so it was very pleasing that 90% of growers supported all proposals put forward in the referendum. These proposals were developed to future-proof the industry, strengthen grower ownership and maximise the wealth of all New Zealand kiwifruit growers.

However, this was just the first step. There is still a lot to do in the coming year with some KISP proposals requiring constitutional change. This includes changes to NZKGI representation and it is expected that elections for a new Forum will be held later this year.

Grower support and wellbeing programmes

Grower support and wellbeing has been a key factor in the industry’s recovery from Psa. While the apparent need may be less now, there are some growers who continue to struggle with the impacts of Psa. Therefore, it’s essential the industry remains connected and that growers know help is at hand if needed. The last 12 months has seen Psa progression slow, however it is important growers remain vigilant. A bad spring or high-risk weather event could cause Psa to progress and put growers under pressure once again.

Grower-focused training, monitoring, and supply and pool operations

Implementation of the KISP proposals over the next few years will see increased monitoring of the performance of Zespri and the supply chain. NZKGI will increase grower training on supply entities with the goal of up-skilling their governance and oversight skills. To ensure grower interests are safeguarded, it is essential that grower representatives are well equipped to represent growers at the Zespri Supply Contract interface.

Promotion, retention and grower seasonal labour resource

The industry is bracing itself for significant growth over the coming years due to the success of the Gold3 cultivar and the inevitable rise in kiwifruit volumes. To future-proof the industry, and avoid a shortfall in skilled people, the industry must develop future leaders and seek innovative ways to attract and retain talent now. NZKGI has three strategies to help increase the supply of labour at all levels. These are:

Promoting horticulture careers
Retaining industry talent
Growing seasonal labour resource
NZKGI has undertaken several initiatives to support these strategies which are outlined in detail in the 2015 NZKGI AGM report available on the NZKGI website.

Liaison with Government

A prime function of NZKGI is to maintain a presence with Government and all political parties. Government representation includes advocating for kiwifruit, in particular with the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Issues that have been advocated for in the reporting period include:

Completion of and ratification by the NZ and Korean Parliaments of the Korean / NZ Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

Advocating for kiwifruit in the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations.
An increase in Recognised Seasonal Employers (RSE) number
Programmes to increase the supply of skilled and reliable labour.
Keeping the Government advised of progress with KISP and securing government support of KISP
Ensuring continued Government and political party support for the SPE.
Focusing on succession planning with the development of the Kiwifruit Vine Right.

- ENDS

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