The young are the fu­ture

The Orchardist - - Contents - Ju­lian Raine is pres­i­dent of Hor­ti­cul­ture NZ.

Con­grat­u­la­tions to our re­cent re­gional win­ners in the Young Grower of the Year Com­pe­ti­tion and the joint win­ners of the Young Veg­etable Grower of the Year.

It is the first time we have had a draw. Both Gur­jant Singh and Este­ban Ibanez did a great job in the com­pe­ti­tion held in Christchurch on the May 18. They both shone dur­ing the day in the prac­ti­cal, the­o­ret­i­cal and evening com­pe­ti­tions. Fin­ish­ing tied on the same points demon­strates how close this com­pe­ti­tion has be­come.

The Hor­ti­cul­ture New Zealand board joined the Otago com­pe­ti­tion on May 25 in Cromwell to watch Hamish Dar­ling be­come that re­gion’s win­ner. Hamish will go on to the na­tional com­pe­ti­tion in Hawke’s Bay on Au­gust 22. Best of luck to all the con­tes­tants. Each year the standard gets higher and higher. The event clearly has a pro­found ef­fect on those that com­pete as I see them come through their cho­sen fields. Con­fi­dence and pub­lic speak­ing are added to their range of skills and knowl­edge. It is great to see em­ploy­ers and fam­i­lies en­cour­age their young peo­ple to en­ter and com­pete. In­vest­ing in our peo­ple is crit­i­cal for our fu­ture. Too many of us see labour as a cost rather than an in­vest­ment. Sure the wage and salary cheques make up a sig­nif­i­cant amount of our out­go­ings on a weekly and monthly ba­sis. But it is the peo­ple we em­ploy that set us apart from many other in­dus­tries. The growth and suc­cess of our in­dus­try is built on our peo­ple. Their skills, knowl­edge and ded­i­ca­tion to do bet­ter each year drive us all along. Con­tin­ued suc­cess breeds, so en­cour­age and re­ward your peo­ple wher­ever you can.

As I travel around the coun­try vis­it­ing grow­ing re­gions I get a sense of con­fi­dence that Hor­ti­cul­ture New Zealand is de­liv­er­ing value to grow­ers. Our role in lay­ing a plat­form so all grow­ers have a fair crack at do­ing what they do best; grow­ing and sell­ing fruit and veg­etable (fresh food). Hort NZ does this by en­abling, pro­mot­ing and ad­vo­cat­ing for you, the grower, wher­ever we can. While our head of­fice in Welling­ton is well placed to deal with some op­er­a­tional is­sues, it sits at the heart of the pol­icy scene. The pol­icy mak­ers and politi­cians have a pro­found ef­fect on how the rest of New Zealand op­er­ates with its im­posed reg­u­la­tions. Our sub­mis­sions and on­go­ing ad­vo­ca­tion is crit­cally im­por­tant to help shape the out­comes.

In ad­di­tion to our head of­fice in Welling­ton, we now have staff in the re­gions. This in­cludes Rachel in Can­ter­bury, Jerf in Hawke’s Bay and Lucy in Auck­land. It is sen­si­ble that we have peo­ple on the ground to deal with the day-to-day and week-to-week is­sues. It gives them eas­ier ac­cess to grow­ers and of­fi­cials in the re­gions. Our on­go­ing work is im­por­tant

be­cause it al­lows you to get on with your nor­mal busi­ness and pros­per.

The levy re­newal process is now well un­der way. Please read the in­for­ma­tion, at­tend any of the grower meet­ings we are hold­ing, look up the web­site and be well in­formed. It is your vote that de­ter­mines whether Hor­ti­cul­ture New Zealand car­ries on or not. It is your money we use and we are very mind­ful about how it is spent. I be­lieve we de­liver very good value and urge you to vote pos­i­tively for the re­newal. The Com­mod­ity Levies Act de­ter­mines that we need to have a ma­jor­ity by both to­tal num­ber of votes and the value of those votes. So please en­sure that you vote. See pages 6 and 7 in this magazine for more on this, and how to vote.

Re­cently, I was ap­pointed to the new Pri­mary Sec­tor Coun­cil. The coun­cil has 15 mem­bers from an ar­ray of back­grounds. It is chaired by Lain Jager who re­cently stood down as chief ex­ec­u­tive of Ze­spri. He is tal­ented and very ex­pe­ri­enced. These skills will be valu­able as he nav­i­gates us through the Pri­mary Sec­tor Coun­cils’ chal­lenge.

The func­tion and role of the coun­cil is to pro­vide in­de­pen­dent strate­gic ad­vice to the govern­ment on the pri­mary sec­tor and to de­velop a sec­tor-wide vi­sion. New Zealand’s pri­mary in­dus­tries are cur­rently ex­pe­ri­enc­ing change and pres­sures which are pre­sent­ing chal­lenges such as chang­ing con­sumer and New Zealand so­ci­ety ex­pec­ta­tions. There are many dis­rup­tions com­ing at us from new tech­nolo­gies, rule changes and the like that are cre­at­ing an un­cer­tain fu­ture for many parts of the pri­mary sec­tor. I’m look­ing for­ward to the role and our first meet­ing that was due at the end of last month.

Fi­nally, a fur­ther re­minder that the New Zealand Hor­ti­cul­ture con­fer­ence this year will be held in Christchurch at the Wi­gram Air Mu­seum July 23 to 24. I urge you to get the dates into your di­aries and reg­is­ter as soon as pos­si­ble. This can be done on­line. The theme this year is Our Food Story. It will be a joint con­fer­ence with a num­ber of prod­uct groups along with Hor­ti­cul­ture New Zealand; these in­clude Veg­eta­bles NZ Inc, Process Veg­eta­bles Inc, To­ma­toesNZ Inc and NZ Ap­ples and Pears. A good pro­gramme will en­sure there’s some­thing for ev­ery­one.

See you there.

Hamish Dar­ling in ac­tion dur­ing the Cen­tral Otago Young Fruit­grower of the Year Com­pe­ti­tion re­cently. Hamish went on to win the event.

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