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.
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.