'Overwhelming' support for industry levy from summerfruit growers

The New Zealand summerfruit market is worth $127 million a year.
The New Zealand summerfruit market is worth $127 million a year. Photo credit: Getty

New Zealand summerfruit growers have strongly endorsed an industry levy, voting to renew the scheme for the next six years.

Industry body Summerfruit NZ has been consulting growers around the country on the renewal of the sector's commodity levy order, which expires before the start of the 2020 summerfruit season.  

The levy supports work in biosecurity, crop protection, export market access and other activities.

Chairman of Summerfruit NZ, Tim Jones said growers had voted overwhelmingly in support, with over 80 percent in favour. 

"This outcome is a strong and welcome endorsement of Summerfruit NZ and the work we have done over the last 25 years," he said.

"We have worked very hard to create a profitable and sustainable industry for our growers and this outcome shows that they appreciate what we've done and what they know we can achieve in the future. We could not have hoped for a better outcome."

The Minister of Agriculture will now be asked to grant a new Commodity Levy Order, which Summerfruit NZ hopes to have in place before the start of the 2020-21 fruit season. 

Summerfruit NZ represents more than 220 growers in the main growing regions around the country.  

The summerfruit market is worth $127 million each year - 69 percent of which is export sales (based on figures from the 2017/18 season). 

New Zealand has more than 20 primary sector commodity levy orders covering everything from apples to wine grapes.