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Wattie’s In Canterbury Completes A Busy Pea And Bean Season Like No Other

Wattie’s completed its 24/7 pea and bean harvesting and processing season last Friday under conditions not previously experienced in its 50 year history of operating in Hornby, due to the restrictions imposed by COVID-19 protocols.

Like every other business operating essential services, Wattie’s field and factory staff based in Christchurch had to adapt quickly to the strict protocols developed in response to the Ministry of Primary Industry’s requirements.

Graham Broom, the Site Manager for Wattie’s in Hornby, said without question, everyone understood the reasons for the changes in our operations, but the new work practices added significantly to people’s workloads during an already busy time, particularly in the factory.

“During harvest we also had to adapt to new ways of communicating with farmers and working in the field to ensure social distancing and traceability of contact was adhered to.

“We are immensely proud of the way in which our teams worked to finds ways of working to meet the requirements of MPI in order to mitigate the identified COVID risks, without dropping production.”

Graham also said the challenges extended beyond the fields and processing operations to the reduced availability and movement of containers for delivering processed and finished product to customers.

“Throughout all this, the level of collaboration among our teams and with business partners has been phenomenal. The way product has continued to move through the supply chain, from field to customers, is a credit to everyone involved.

“We have also been delighted with the encouragement and moral support we have had from Mayor Lianne Dalziel on behalf of the Christchurch Council and the other Mayors of the region.”

With the major pea, bean and baby carrot harvesting and processing activities behind it, the factory is moving back to a five-day week with the Potato and Carrot still to go; but as one season runs its course, planting for the next is about to start. Wattie’s start planting broad bean seeds on April 26.

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