June 16, 2017
Kiwifruit forum to improve land use
The chair of the new Maori Kiwifruit Growers Forum says it’s a chance for growers to learn more about the industry and have a greater influence in its future direction.
The forum grew out of the Kiwifruit Industry Strategy Project and is an elected body including Maori primary sector heavyweights like Wakatu Incorporation’s James Wheeler and Alan Haronga from Mangatu Blocks.
Tiaki Hunia, who holds the Whakatane-Rangataiki seat, says there is huge potential to bring more Maori land into kiwifruit production.
This is happening with Whanau a Apanui landowners around Te Kaha, where there is the right climate, good land, and a general willingness plant orchards.
"A lot of these high performing orchards in the past would have been used largely for maize and cropping and when you compare the returns but more importantly the opportunities that arise from kiwifruit, particularly with jobs and employment, with the ultimate goal that if Maori can own the land, run the land, manage the land, work the land, we think that is a great outcome," Mr Hunia says.
Rather than seeing Maori growers go it alone, he sees the forum as a way to have more influence in the existing Zespri brand.
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