13 Jun 2014

Kiwifruit growers upbeat at Fieldays

8:07 am on 13 June 2014

Kiwifruit marketer Zespri has noticed a remarkable turnaround in the mood among growers coming to the national agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek this year.

Zespri grower and government relations manager Simon Limmer said a lot of kiwifruit growers were calling into its site, and the contrast with the past few years as they battled the PSA bacteria scourge could not be more striking.

"The mood is very positive, very optimistic, and on the back of three years of real uncertainty and a certain sense of desperation as to where this industry was heading - it's a really good place to be," Mr Limmer said.

"Growers are feeling positive the PSA situation looks to be manageable, we're seeing volumes of gold kiwifruit recovering heading into the market - market returns are up across all varieties.

"And most importantly, growers are seeing the equity value in their orchards recovering to pre-PSA levels."

Meanwhile, the kiwifruit industry is on a recruitment drive at the Fieldays to attract more graduates and school leavers into the industry.

Kiwifruit Growers organisation spokesperson Mike Chapman said with the industry back on its feet, it was the right time to launch its Super Kiwi campaign to show it had a lot more to offer than picking and packing.

"As we're going back into growth, and into strong growth, what we need to do is attract more people into the industry, at all levels," he said.

"The campaign we are running at Fieldays is about attracting people ... and showing to them the vast range of jobs that are available in horticulture and particularly in kiwifruit."

Jobs in the kiwifruit sector are just one of a number of initiatives highlighted at the Fieldays this year to attract more young people into jobs in the primary sector.