Apricot Co eight years in the making
A grower co-operative to market new varieties of apricots should be in operation next year, according to interim chairman, Nigel Hinton.
New apricot varieties being developed at Plant & Food, Clyde will be released under the ownership of grower cooperative company, Apricot Co, and will add to the fresh summerfruit available on domestic and export markets.
This new company will manage the manage the release of three new varieties which have not yet been given brand names but are known among the summerfruit industry as NZ summer 1, 3 and 4.Trials blocks of these varieties have already been grown in the district’s orchards and feedback from growers has been very positive. Apricot Co’s interim board chairman, Nigel Hinton, said Summerfruit NZ was funding the interim board to set up the legal entity. The intention is that the new company will be a self-funding commercial enterprise for the co-operative shareholders.
“We are still working through all the details and hopefully these will be confirmed in the middle of next year,” he said.
Still to be finalised is whether there will be a levy per tree or per hectare and the levy will be paid to Plant & Food, with the stipulation the levy is to go into breeding and evaluation.
The concept of the co-operative company has been in the pipeline for about eight years and is now being put into action. Members of the interim board all have experience in the summerfruit industry and include Garry Bennetts, from Roxburgh, Roger Brownlie, Napier, Bruno Simpson, Waimea, independent directors Basil Goodman, Cromwell, who is chairman of Seasonal Solutions Co-operative, Alexandra, and consultant Earnscy Weaver. who has a cherry orchard at Springvale, near Alexandra and is a Summerfruit NZ director.