Concerns about the impact the labor shortage on players in the horticulture sectors are growing as the harvest season approaches. According to Brydon Nisbet, president of the Hawke’s Bay Fruitgrowers’ Association, pressures from the labor shortage were taking their toll on people's mental health.
Nisbet said it was the small to mid-size growers especially who were suffering, adding there was a “little bit of a divide”. Larger growers were able to use machine picking and other technology which helped broaden the pool of available pickers. Himself a small grower, he said there was just not enough staff. He said this season would be about keeping an eye on growers and expressed his gratitude to the Hawke's Bay community for rallying around the industry last season.