Strawberry growers vote on levy proposal

Voting is underway in a referendum on a commodity levy for commercial strawberry growers.

A levy rate of $26 per 1000 strawberry plants sold is being proposed, with support being sought to apply to the Minister for Agriculture for a Commodity Levies Order on strawberries. 

Strawberry grower and chair of Strawberry Growers New Zealand, (SGNZ ) Anthony Rakich said the levy was expected to raise about $375,000 per year, which would be spent on grower representation across areas important to commercial strawberry growers.

"Having a united voice on collective issues creates a better operating environment for growers," he said.

SGNZ is currently funded voluntarily by members plus a dividend from its subsidiary, NZ Berryfruit Propagating Company Ltd. 

"It's important all strawberry growers take the opportunity to vote on this proposal," said Rakich.

"We believe that this means of industry funding is fairer, more inclusive and more transparent for all growers."

Consultation with growers has included posting out an information booklet, and visits to growers and stakeholders from Strawberry Growers New Zealand's Board and senior executives.

Voting closes on Friday 12 July, with results expected to be announced on Wednesday 17 July 2019.

Newshub.