Summer fruit growers support industry funding

File image/SunLive.

New Zealand’s commercial summer fruit growers have voted in support of continuing the levy they pay for industry funding for biosecurity, crop protection, export market access and other ‘industry good’ activities.

Industry body Summerfruit NZ consulted growers around the country before asking them to vote on renewal of the sector’s Commodity Levy Order, which will expire before the start of the 2020 summer fruit season.

The voting return percentage was 53 per cent with 84 per cent of votes cast supporting levy continuation.

Levies provide more than two-thirds of Summerfruit NZ’s funding.

“This outcome is a strong and welcome endorsement of Summerfruit NZ and the work we have done over the last 25 years,” says Summerfruit NZ chairman Tim Jones.

“We have worked very hard to create a profitable and sustainable industry for our growers and this outcome shows that they appreciate what we’ve done and what they know we can achieve in the future. We couldn’t have hoped for a better outcome.

“The voter turnout was higher than we have recorded before and was also higher than what most other primary sector groups have achieved over the last couple of years. This reflects the level of engagement we have with our growers, who we’d like to thank for their participation.”

The minister of agriculture will now be asked to grant a new Commodity Levy Order, which Summerfruit NZ hopes to have in place before the start of the 2020-21 summer fruit season.

New Zealand has more than 20 primary sector Commodity Levy Orders and each levy order must be renewed every six years.

Summerfruit NZ proposed no change to its maximum levy rates – one rate for apricots, nectarines, peaches and plums, and another rate for cherries, which have higher value and lower overall production per hectare than the other summer fruit.

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