In a bid to tackle predicted labour shortages, Zespri grower liaison manager Sue Groenewald has temporarily joined the New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers (NZKGI) team.
Groenewald will work alongside NZKGI staff to identify the labour needs of the New Zealand kiwifruit industry now and into the future.
“This project is a cooperation between NZKGI, suppliers and Zespri which will provide the data that we need as an industry to have discussions with the government on the extent of the predicted labour shortage and mechanisms to resolve this,” NZKGI said in a statement.
“This project will involve input from across all regions where kiwifruit is grown. While this project will be her main concentration, Sue will continue to maintain contact with growers in her Zespri role.”
The New Zealand kiwifruit industry is currently made up of around 10,000 permanent employees and 8,000 seasonal works at the peak of harvest.
It is estimated the industry will need another 2,000 permanent employees and 4,000 seasonal workers within the next five years, as single desk market Zespri works toward increasing its global sales to NZ$4.5bn by 2025.