Strawberry industry group proposes commodity levy for growers

The possible introduction of an industry levy for commercial strawberry growers is to be discussed at a series of meetings across the country. 

The idea has been proposed by industry group, Strawberry Growers of New Zealand (SGNZ).

SGNZ Executive Manager, Michael Ahern told Rural Today's Dominic George that the levy is about moving the sector forward.

"Although growing strawberries in New Zealand is a long standing and successful practice, in more recent times, the board of SGNZ has decided that it has to take a more active approach on certain issues that affect the future for the growing of strawberries," he said.

He said the levy would be used to address important issues facing growers.

"There are a number of critical areas where growers don't have the the time, or expertise, to engage with Government agencies in particular, on areas of unquestioned common interests," said Ahern

He said the need for more engagement was highlighted in strategic plan commissioned by the board of SGNZ.

"It highlighted the critical areas that the board should be more actively involved with, and when we looked at that, we realised that we needed a more reliable method of collecting money - and it needs to be fair and reasonable."

Meetings to discuss the proposed commodity levy are being held in Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North and Nelson from April 30 to May 6.

Listen to the full interview with Michael Ahern.

Rural Today with Dominic George airs weekdays 5:30-6am on Magic Talk.