April 03, 2020
Kiwifruit growers struggling for pickers
Come and pick kiwifruit.
That’s the call from Maori agribusiness leader Kingi Smiler to forestry and tourism workers sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr Smiler says his own incorporations’ kiwifruit gold blocks were part of an early start programme and have been packed and shipped, but other blocks are trying to get their crop off despite the disruption.
"The opportunity now is for those workers who have unfortunately lost their jobs, particularly in the areas like forestry and the tourism sector, provides an opportunity for those people to take up some of these opportunities, given the problems with bringing people from overseas," he says.
Kingi Smiler also chairs the Ahuwhenua Trophy, which will be out of the best in Māori horticulture and is between three of the country’s largest kiwifruit growers.
Field days have been cancelled and the trophy will be judged and awarded later in the year at a small local celebration rather than the usual gala dinner.
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