Pro­tect­ing tomato ex­ports crit­i­cal

Pro­tect­ing and ex­pand­ing mar­ket ac­cess for tomato ex­ports is crit­i­cal to the tomato in­dus­try's suc­cess, says To­ma­toesNZ chair­man Alas­dair MacLeod.

NZ Grower - - Product Groups - HE­LEN BARNES Busi­ness Man­ager To­ma­toesNZ Inc.

In his part­ing ad­dress to the To­ma­toesNZ Inc an­nual meet­ing in Christchurch last month, he said that whilst there are only a small num­ber of grow­ers who ex­port, to­ma­toes go­ing off­shore have a con­sid­er­able im­pact on main­tain­ing the mar­ket value in New Zealand.

To­ma­toesNZ re­duced its re­serves by $69,227 for the year to 31 March 2018, de­spite growth in the in­dus­try, which has in­creased to $131 mil­lion of farm gate value from $120 mil­lion the pre­vi­ous levy year, lead­ing to in­creased levy in­come. This growth, along with run­ning a con­ser­va­tive bud­get that in­cluded con­tin­gen­cies which were not used, has been part of a de­lib­er­ate strat­egy for To­ma­toesNZ. It has been re­duc­ing the re­serves on hand over the past six years, which are now at $544,592, close to one year’s worth of To­ma­toesNZ Inc. op­er­a­tional ex­pen­di­ture.

In­vest­ing col­lec­tively in re­search and de­vel­op­ment is im­por­tant for To­ma­toesNZ, said Alas­dair, not­ing that in­di­vid­ual busi­ness were not able to fund R&D on the same scale and the ben­e­fits to grow­ers are shared, speak­ing of the “time, ef­fort and money on R&D” com­pleted dur­ing the year by TNZ. In­vest­ment in R&D and pro­mo­tion in­creased com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year.

He ac­knowl­edged there are chal­lenges ahead and the bur­den of biose­cu­rity and com­pli­ance com­mit­ments were on­go­ing and large.

Alas­dair went on to talk about the im­por­tance of To­ma­toesNZ hav­ing the grow­ers’ voice at the gov­ern­ment ta­ble for the col­lec­tive ben­e­fit of the in­dus­try, urg­ing grow­ers to vote in the com­mod­ity levy ref­er­en­dum stat­ing that “main­tain­ing a func­tion­ing in­dus­try body is crit­i­cally im­por­tant”.

He closed his ad­dress by thank­ing the board, not­ing the changes over time with the group mor­ph­ing from be­ing tech­ni­cally fo­cused into a “lively, en­gag­ing, strate­gi­cally chal­leng­ing board who left their dif­fer­ences at the door to sup­port the sec­tor”.

◀ Out­go­ing To­ma­toesNZ chair Alas­dair MacLeod, right, is thanked by vice-chair­man Mal­colm Pook and gen­eral man­ager He­len Barnes.

▴ The To­ma­toesNZ Board lines up for a photo shoot. New chair Barry O'Neil is in the cen­tre at the front.

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