Horticulture

Apple crop risks going unpicked

[17 January/Rural News] Long term allocation of recognised seasonal worker (RSE) numbers is required to ensure the industry can plan ahead, reported Gary Jones of NZ Apples and Pears. The industry is looking at a 30,000 tonne increase in the crop in Hawkes Bay and Nelson, requiring about 500 more workers. Realistically the region requires...

‘Shocking’ strawberry season as wet December plays havoc for North Island growers

[30 December/Stuff] Heavy rain and humid weather has played havoc on North Island strawberry growers leaving shortages and quality issues around Christmas, the busiest time of the year for strawberries.  Waikato grower Gary McMahon described the season as shocking and listed wet weather and humidity as the biggest challenges. The wet weather throughout December meant...

Growers will be able to cherry pick their price after unseasonable deluge of rain across New Zealand

[16 December/Stuff] The rain during the late spring and early summer period has caused stone fruit crops to split and rot, meaning there is lower supply at New Zealand’s fruit stalls and supermarkets in the run up to Christmas. Marlborough cherry growers suffered their wettest season in a decade. Cherrybank Orchard, just south of Blenheim,...

Man arrested for human trafficking, slavery after targeting ‘vulnerable’ workers

[17 December/Radio NZ] A 64-year-old Samoan man with New Zealand residency has been arrested for human trafficking and slavery after allegedly bringing Samoan nationals to New Zealand to work for him illegally. It is alleged that the man has been regularly bringing Samoan nationals to work for him in the horticultural industry in Hawke’s Bay...

Mushroom farm draws dozens of complaints for smell

[8 December/Rural Life] A mushroom farm in Hawke’s Bay has received 48 additional complaints since it was originally fined in August for its objectionable odour. As part of Te Mata Mushrooms’ resource consent, odours are not allowed to leave the boundaries of its Havelock North property. Hawke’s Bay Regional Council said it had not however...

Potato virus here to stay

[4 December/Rural News] Potatoes New Zealand Chief Executive, Chris Claridge, said the decision to keep the potato mop top virus (PMTV) in New Zealand may be in the best interests the industry in the long term. He said technical experts have indicated that they don’t believe it is technically feasible to eradicate the PMTV, but...

New housing is eating our lunch: report finds NZ set to struggle to grow enough fruit and vegetables

[28 November/NZ Herald] A report produced by Rachel McClung of Horticulture New Zealand as part of her Kellogg Rural Leadership programme, suggests that vertical farming, where food is grown indoors in stacks in a technology-controlled environment, is unlikely to replace traditional growing. Ms McClung said that spread of urban development into areas with prime soils,...

Zespri eyes North America for kiwifruit orchards as Sungold sales take off

[2 December/NZ Herald] Global kiwifruit marketer, Zespri, is looking at opportunities to grow kiwifruit in North America as consumer demand there soars for its Sungold variety. Chief Executive, Dan Mathieson, said Sungold sales jumped 32 per cent this year with 4.7 million trays sold compared to 3.3 million last year, while the sales of green...

More workers welcomed, but vacancies remain

[23 November/Rural News] The kiwifruit industry will welcome more Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers for next season, as part of the government granting the horticulture industry approval to recruit 1,750 more short term workers from the Pacific Islands (increasing the total to 12,850 nationally). New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc (NZKGI) CEO, Nikki Johnson, said the...

Zespri takes top honours among stellar cast

[22 November/NZ Herald] Zespri has taken out top honours as Company of the Year in the 2018 Top 200 Awards. Having obtained Most Improved Performance and Best Growth Strategy in previous years, this year the judges recognised that its superb returns represent the culmination of its long-term premium brand-led strategy. Peter McBride, the Zespri Chairman,...

Seeka raises capital to fund expansion

[12 November/Eurofruit] Seeka has announced plans to raise $50 million in new capital to strengthen its balance sheet by paying down debt and providing the financial flexibility to pursue its growth strategy.  The capital will be raised through the launch of a new Grower Share Scheme (GSS), a rights issue and the issue of shares...

Stocks of bananas running low at New Zealand supermarkets

[9 November/NZ Herald] Changes in international shipping routes have led to stocks of bananas running low at New Zealand supermarkets.  A spokesperson for Foodstuffs said that banana supplies are short right now due to unforeseen shipping issues but added that supplies are expected to be back to normal by the end of the month. A...

Investment fund eyes Central Otago cherry option

[13 November/NZ Herald] Craigmore Sustainables CEO, Che Charteris, says that the company’s $250 million Permanent Crop Partnership is quickly approaching its target funding level and they are expecting a close for the funds in the next month.  The fund has been set up to build a diversified business of the best of New Zealand orchards,...

Zespri chairman Peter McBride stands down

[31 October/NZ Farmer] Zespri chairman, Peter McBride, has announced that he will resign for the role in February next year and will not seek re-election to the board when his term expires in the middle of next year. Mr McBride had previously told Fonterra shareholders, were he is running for election to the board, that...

New apricot’s a ‘shot in the arm’

[1 November/Rural News] A new grower co-operative, which is currently a subcommittee of Summerfruit NZ’s board, is being set up to commercialise three new apricot varieties in coming seasons. The fruit which currently have no brand names and the company which is yet to have a trading name established is being launched with the intention...

Zespri sues for $70 million over trademark breach in China

[6 November/Radio NZ Rural] Zespri has filed proceedings in the High Court in Auckland seeking an award of damages against a grower who illegally supplied the Sungold kiwifruit plants to China. Zespri is arguing the supply of the plants breached its intellectual property rights over the variety and was trademarked. The company had discovered 160...

Kiwifruit is king!

[29 October/Rural News] New Zealand kiwifruit demand is being driven by a trend amongst consumers who are looking to live better and healthier lives. Zespri Chief Executive, Dan Mathieson, said kiwifruit fit perfectly into that category. He added sales growth had been strong with 150 million trays last year, up from 120 million. A lot...

Seeka enters into $15.9m sale deal for five kiwifruit orchards

[24 October/Radio NZ] Seeka agreed to sell five Northland kiwifruit orchards for almost $16 million. It said the agreements included the purchasers entering into long term supply contracts for each of the orchards, which Seeka would manage on their behalf. Seeka added the sale agreements were conditional on the purchasers completing due diligence within 20...

Waikato’s Zealong tea brews another global winner

[23 October/NZ Herald] For the second consecutive year New Zealand’s only commercial tea estate, Zealong, has won the top prize in its class at the Global Tea Championships.  Zealong competed against 140 teas from 16 countries in the competition held in Colorado, winning the silver medal in the pan-fired green category of the loose leaf...

Avocado market grows for Thailand

[18 October/The Country] The nutritional and health benefits of New Zealand Avocados has caused rapid growth in avocado exports to Thailand. New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs, Winston Peters, opened the New Zealand avocado season launch event in Bangkok. It showcased the increasing popularity of New Zealand avocados in Thailand. New Zealand Trade Commissioner, Ryan...

Horticulture group members sought

[17 October/Rural Life] Nominations for memberships for the new national Women in Horticulture leadership group were wanted as part of its establishment process. A mandate to start the group came from a session at the Horticulture New Zealand conference. Horticulture New Zealand Policy Analyst, Eve Williams, said those who wished to put their name forward...

Lethal strain of Psa hits NZ – owned Seeka kiwifruit orchard in Australia

[17 October/Stuff] A lethal strain of the Psa bacteria was detected for the first time in Australia on a kiwifruit orchard owned by New Zealand horticulture business, Seeka. The disease caused havoc on the New Zealand kiwifruit industry in 2010, forcing some growers out of business. The Psa tolerant gold variety helped remedy the situation....

Teviot Valley couple just mad about saffron

[16 October/Rural Life] Teviot Valley couple, Wendy King and Graham Strong, produced premium saffron that was gaining worldwide attention and had proven health benefits. It attracted high prices, but was hard work. The flowers needed to be handpicked, and plucked by hand. Mr King emphasised weeding was a large part of the job. They started...

Vegetable prices fall

[11 October/Rural News] Vegetable prices fell 8.7 percent in September. Lettuce prices fell 45 percent and according to Statistics New Zealand, lettuce heads were down to $1.81 each. Prices reached a high of $5.42 in July 2018 due to poor weather, but there had been two major price falls since. At the same time last...