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Resilience And Preparing For The Future: New Zealand’s Apple And Pear Industry Gathers For National Conference

More than 300 growers, suppliers, industry leaders and government officials from around the country will gather at Toi Toi event centre in Hastings for the 2021 NZ Apples and Pears Inc (NZAPI) Conference.

The theme for the 2021 conference is ‘Building Resilience in Challenging Times’. Over the past 18 months, the industry has dealt with not only the Covid-19 pandemic, but adverse weather events including hailstorms in Nelson and Central Otago, an acute labour shortage and a disrupted supply chain, which have combined to make the year one to forget.

NZAPI chief executive Alan Pollard says that the conference is an opportunity for the industry to come together to acknowledge the difficulties faced in the past year, to focus on the learnings from them, and to look to the future in a world that has radically changed as a result of the global pandemic.

“As an essential business in 2020, our members were able to continue to operate to deliver the New Zealand economy much needed domestic and export returns and ensure a continuous food supply. However, in 2021 the industry has been significantly affected by border closures and a constrained labour supply.

“The conference will be a place where members can discuss plans for the future and how as an industry we can meet these challenges as we move towards our goal of becoming a $2 billion export industry,” says Pollard.

The keynote speaker line-up includes chair of the Productivity Commission Dr Ganesh Nana; MPI director-general Ray Smith; Morgan Rogers head of innovation and technical at T&G Global; Ngahiwi Tomoana, chair of Ngāti Kahungunu; and several industry leaders and company owners.

Speakers will address a wide range of topics including the future workforce and what the orchards of the next decades will look like, the transition to automation, sustainability, the future of food security assurances and how Prevar (the industry owned and funded variety breeding programme) can best deliver competitive advantage to the industry.

“An important part of the conference will be how the apple and pear industry can work with iwi more closely and what our partnership and shared outcomes can deliver,” says Pollard.

“We have presentations throughout the two day conference focussing on partnerships and inclusivity, from Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Pāhauwera Commercial Development Ltd, and Tātau Tātau o Te Wairoa, discussing how we might work together to deliver prosperity for all”.

The conference will take place on Thursday 12 and Friday 13 August.

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