The peak body representing New Zealand’s onion industry has invested in developing a new strategic plan, with increasing exports to Asia a key focus.
While Onions New Zealand has existed in its current entity for a number of years, a recent governance review of the organisation has paved the way for a number of changes. At boardroom level, this includes the appointment of a chief executive and the industry body’s first independent chairman. Former Onions New Zealand chairman, Michael Ahern, has assumed the chief executive role, while the new chairman is likely to be appointed in August.
Ahern said the industry would continue to work with government, horticultural and research bodies to help define its direction. “There's a clear reference point for the Ministry of Foreign affairs and Trade, the Ministry for Primary Industries, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, Plant and Food Research; these are the main bodies we're interfacing with at the moment, all of whom are exceptionally important to our strategic plan,” Ahern told Radio New Zealand.
Ahern added that the industry is looking to grow the value of its export sector from its current base of NZ$100m (US$66m), with “further development of our Asian business as we seek to lower our reliance on European business.”