According to NZKGI chief executive Nikki Johnson, the extent of the current kiwifruit picker shortage has been difficult to gauge due to the recent wet weather.
She said: “It's been an odd start to the season, because we’ve had a lot of rain in the Bay of Plenty over the last six weeks. We can’t pick in the rain, so it has disrupted the start of the season. When there are fine days, everyone is trying to pick as quickly as they can.”
NZKGI are expecting feedback about whether there’s an adequate amount of pickers in coming weeks, says Nikki. Sunlive.co.nz also quoted her as saying: “The thing about not having consistent days is that you don’t get a good sense about if you have enough people or not. You really need to have a number of days picking in a row to gauge that – and that’s only really happening now. It continues to be a challenge.”
Ideally, Gold kiwifruit needs to be picked before the end of May, and Green can be picked until the end of June.
“Every day that we lose to rain is a day we can't pick up later on. So there's going to be a lot of demand for people to pick fruit on every fine day.”