Key players from across New Zealand’s fresh produce industry continue to offer support to Fijians affected by Cyclone Winston.
After donating 20 tonnes of kiwifruit to communities hit by the ex-tropical cyclone earlier this year, Zespri and T&G Global recently sent another nine tonnes of Zespri Green kiwifruit to the Oceanic nation.
T&G Global’s team in Fiji delivered the fruit to schools around the Suva region, with Fiji’s Ministry for Education helping to distribute the donation to the most affected areas.
Once again, the donation is the result of collaboration between Zespri, T&G Global, Weatherall’s Transport and Maersk, all of whom offered their services free of charge.
Zespri external relations manager Nick Kirton said fresh produce remains scarce in some parts of Fiji as a result of the cyclone damage, with the UN estimating around 100,000 people could still be suffering from February’s natural disaster.
“We’re really pleased to work with these companies again to get healthy, fresh New Zealand produce to our Pacific neighbours, following on from our donation a few months ago,” said Kirton. “Working together like this means we can continue to support to the communities that provide workers for horticulture in NZ each season.”
T&G Global Fiji managing director Bobby Sharma said many New Zealanders believe things are back to normal in Fiji given the timeframe since the cyclone, but he has seen first-hand how badly people are suffering 10 months on.
“It’s really important to keep on supporting these communities as they try and rebuild their lives, homes and schools,” Sharma explained. “Providing nutritious food is just one way we can help and we’re committed to continuing our support given our strong ties with Fiji, both as an exporter and importer of produce.
“T&G is also about to welcome 20 RSE workers from cyclone-affected villages to work on our orchards in Hawkes Bay. We’re hired specifically from impacted areas to help these people financially support their families and rebuild their lives as soon as possible.”