Dec 18, 2020

NZ horticulture is facing one of its biggest challenges in its history. This might sound a tad dramatic, but it is true.

When you spend 12 months investing in your business and nurturing your crops, you deserve the opportunity to reap the reward but this will be harder than ever to do in the 2021 season.

With a seriously depleted labour pool, the horticultural industry relies heavily on backpackers and RSE (Recognised Seasonal Employer) workers from offshore to pick and pack the crops. With the boarders closed the industry is tens of thousands of workers short. Some growers may need to leave 30% of their crops in the field due to lack of labour. And it’s not just a case of “paying more” as many might think. Picking wages are already heading to mid-twenties and very good pickers can earn over $30 an hour. Picking is hard work and many unemployed New Zealanders simply can’t, or don’t want to do it.

There are many creative campaigns out there now to attract pickers to places all over New Zealand, from Central Otago all the way to Kerikeri and the far North. Can you help with any creative ways to attract workers to some of most beautiful parts of New Zealand? Work anywhere from the Teviot Valley in Central Otago, to magical Motueka, Hawkes Bay and Gisborne wine districts, Bay of Plenty (with plenty of everything), to Northland which includes the stunning Bay of Islands. If you can, great, get in touch with any packhouse across the country, they need all the help they can get to pick and pack the 2021 crops.

Jenkins Freshpac will be working hard again to keep the labelling and automation equipment running full noise and we are employing more technical resources to keep up with servicing demands. All the very best for the new season and thanks so much for your support this year.

This post was written by

Tom McLaughlin

Tom has always had an affinity for New Zealand’s primary industries and a passion for business, and is charged with delivering the Sinclair fruit labelling program at Jenkins.