Kiwifruit and apple croppers in New Zealand’s Gisborne region have been coping well when it comes to labour for picking fruit with some kiwifruit growers having already finished their harvests.
NZ Fruits, which handles about half the region's kiwifruit crop, had more than 60 percent of its crop picked. “We have adequate staff to meet our harvest needs,” said director Trevor Lupton. “We shut down our packhouse for four days from Monday to reconfigure it to meet the Covid-19 safety requirements for our staff.”
According to Lupton, “the crunch time” had passed for the harvest. “We expect to have it all finished within about four weeks.” The district will produce about four million trays of kiwifruit this season.
The freighter Ice Ranger berthed at Eastland Port yesterday to load around 1100 pallets of kiwifruit before heading to Tauranga tonight.
Kaiaponi Farms general manager Scott Wilson said that finding apple harvest workers had been a challenge. “But then it always is. We have had some overseas RSE (Recognised Season Employer scheme) staff unable to enter the country this season because of the virus, but local labour has stepped up, and some have come from other industries to work with the harvest. We're coping.”
According to the Gisborne Herald, their apple pick was about 35 percent complete as of yesterday.