Growth prompts survey
Significant growth in the horticulture and viticulture sectors in Central Otago has prompted the need for up-to-date information on crop plantings and associated labour demand.
The Central Otago District Council has partnered with sector groups to coordinate a labour survey over the next few weeks to capture information.
The 2018 Central Otago Labour Market Survey will build on the information obtained from a 2015 survey.
This earlier survey pointed to strong growth in the horticulture sector, particularly for apples and cherries. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the past three years have seen growth in new plantings, with plans for even more. There is also a move towards consolidation of holdings into larger entities, and people and companies moving into the sector from outside the region.
Other earlier findings pointed to a significant shortage of worker accommodation of all types with an additional 600 backpacker beds required by 2018/19. The 2015 report highlighted labour supply as an ongoing and growing fragility in the sector.
Central Otago Labour Market Governance Group Chair Stephen Jeffery said national growth in horticultural and viticulture plantings are projected and this could prove problematic for the local labour supply.
Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan said given the continued strong growth in Central Otago it was essential the council, business owners and developers had accurate data on which to base their business decisions.
‘‘I encourage all growers and contractors to participate.’’
The survey is being funded jointly by the New Zealand Fruitgrowers Charitable Trust, Central Otago Winegrowers Association, Seasonal Solutions Cooperative Ltd and Central Otago District Council.