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Hort NZ calls for increased grower support

Horticulture New Zealand is calling on increased funding from growers to enable the entry to more export markets. The move is aimed at boosting dwindling returns.

Hort NZ receives most of its funding by way of a grower-paid commodity levy, which expires next year. The organisation is proposing a new levy of 15 cents per $100 of sales.

Most vegetable growers already pay this amount but fruit growers, at present, pay 4 cents less.

Chief executive Peter Silcock says the increase is needed because the organisation is no longer receiving funding from the Fruitgrowers Charitable Trust.

The trust has withdrawn its funding as it needs to strengthen its building in Wellington so that it is able to withstand an earthquake.

Mr Silcock says the proposed levy would bring in about $2.5 million a year which, among other things, would be used to break into new trading markets and to break down barriers to get better access to markets.

"The next couple of years is going to be really critical for growers, that we make some progress on those things because it's pretty tough going out there right now."

Some 6000 growers will vote on the proposed levy in September.

Source: www.radionz.co.nz

Publication date: 3/23/2012


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