The horticulture industry could call on the New Zealand government to provide more help as growers worst hit by last year’s hail storm in Motueka face several years of struggle.
Yesterday and today, New Zealand Apples and Pears chief executive Alan Pollard met orchardists in Nelson to get more feedback on the effect of the Boxing Day hail storm, and to help coordinate support for those struggling through the aftermath.
At a meeting in Upper Moutere, Pollard was joined by service and technical support providers from the industry, representatives from the Ministry of Social Development and the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Rural Support Trust.
Pollard said the two key objectives of the meeting were to offer support and advice on how to prepare their orchards for the next season, and to hear first-hand from farmers about their biggest issues.
“They are certainly challenged by this extra pressure," Pollard told stuff.co.nz. “On top of the Covid lockdown, on top of a labour shortage and now this hits, it's been a constant level of stress and pressure for 12 months now. At the moment we’re particularly concerned about the mental health of growers, and their families and their staff as well.”
Pollard said one of the key concerns for growers was the welfare and wellbeing of their permanent staff, and the ability to keep them employed through the next year.