Strawberry growers vote in favour of commodity levy

Commercial strawberry growers have voted in favour of a commodity levy for the industry.

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

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.

These included crop protection, export market access, biosecurity, food safety and labour.

Strawberry Growers New Zealand Inc (SGNZ) said it received a strong vote of support from its grower base to proceed with the application.

The vote showed support in favour of the proposal was at 84 percent.

SGNZ Chairman Anthony Rakich said the vote followed a period of consultation with growers throughout the country. 

"It was great to hear of their support for the work of an adequately resourced, whole of industry organisation," he said.

An application will now be made to the Minister of Agriculture for the granting of a new levy order,

If approved, it would be drafted by the Parliamentary Counsel Office in accordance with the requirements of the commodity levies act.

This process was expected to take some months, with SGNZ aiming is to have the levy in place by the end of February 2020.