Recognising Bay kiwifruit growers
Last week’s budget attracted a great deal attention and praise – indeed, it was a National-led government which delivered a budget focused on families and supporting the most vulnerable, including being the first party since 1972 to raise the benefit above inflation.
However, while a lot of media attention was focused on Wellington, I also want to recognise another achievement which was the result of many years of hard work by growers in the Bay. Zespri’s annual returns were up to $939 million with very strong performance with the Gold and Green varieties.
It’s easy for a community that can only remember having kiwifruit in its midst to take it for granted; however, in October 2010 we came face-to-face with the threat of losing it as the Psa virus took hold. Horticulture underpins our region’s economy and the livelihoods of many in our community were placed in jeopardy.
But the industry has bounced back: The diseased variety has been grafted over to a new more tolerant and tasty variety thanks to excellent scientific research and knowledge transfer among growers for the benefit of all. All this has been held together by an empowering market structure.
Zespri, kiwifruit growers and their suppliers of everything from finance to fertiliser deserve our congratulations and thanks for helping us become a stronger region. In fact we are currently New Zealand’s fastest growing region and our local hardworking growers have played a key role in this outstanding achievement.