fbpx
Print this page
Friday, 08 May 2020 10:09

Italian innovation helps Zespri

Written by  Peter Burke
Zespri’s chief grower and alliances officer, Dave Courtney. Zespri’s chief grower and alliances officer, Dave Courtney.

Italian kiwifruit packhouses' experience in dealing with COVID-19 has helped New Zealand to fast-track innovation in its own packhouses to deal with stringent new safety regulations.

Zespri’s chief grower and alliances officer, Dave Courtney, told Hort News that when the new rules around social distancing in workplaces came into force in NZ, there were challenges in putting the new practices in place – this slowed down packhouse efficiency for some time.

However, he says some of the packhouses in Italy – which pack Zespri kiwifruit – had been dealing with this issue much earlier, had experience in these types of protocols and knew how to keep people safely apart.

“They actually shared their ideas around erecting screens between people and how they ran their facilities and sent us photos and videos and other information,” Courtney explains. 

“There was a real collaborative approach about how to meet the new rules and how to keep operating under them. So, we were quickly able to take their learnings and devise our own systems based in their ones.” 

Courtney says Italy tends to harvest their green kiwifruit early and put it into coolstores. When they get orders, they bring it out and pack it then. He says the kiwifruit industry in NZ has now got its head around the new protocols and how to operate.

“Many have gained confidence in their operating environment and we are seeing really good pack-outs now. Some are even up to some of the best days of last year.” 

But Courtney says this varies across the industry and there is no doubt the Covid protocols have had an impact on the how firms operate.

More like this

Rural vaccination message from Damien O'Connor

OPINION: Rural New Zealanders and those working in the primary sector play a vital role in our response to COVID-19 and it's important they take the opportunity to get vaccinated against the virus, says Agriculture and Rural Communities Minister Damien O'Connor

UK farmers seeking special Covid visas

UK farmers are joining organisations from across the food and farming sector in calling for the Government to introduce a 12-month 'Covid-19 recovery visa'.

'Work with us through Covid'

Farmlands new chief executive says she is going back to the basics for the short-term, which includes a focus on keeping employees safe and engaged through the Covid-19 pandemic.

National

Marketing blast for Rockit

Gaining momentum from the global roll-out of its new brand in July, NZ fruit company Rockit has recently launched its…

Zespri celebrates in style

The contribution of NZ's kiwifruit industry came in for some high praise at a special function at Parliament, just before…

Keeping NZ kids healthy!

New Zealand's fresh fruit and vegetable sector has signed a new two-year deal with the Government to continue supplying produce…

Machinery & Products

Smart way to bumper crops

With kiwifruit being the "go to" good food of the 21st century, it was inevitable that orchard prices would skyrocket.

Taking spud harvest to next level

With more than 40 years of two and four-row self-propelled harvester production behind them, the latest Dewulf harvester - imported…