Wednesday, 01 August 2018 09:10

Critical labour shortage

Written by 
The kiwifruit industry was 1,200 staff short at the start of the 2018 harvest. The kiwifruit industry was 1,200 staff short at the start of the 2018 harvest.

Prior to the 2018 harvest, New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc. (NZKGI) warned of looming labour shortages over the next 10 years.

It says the kiwifruit industry was 1,200 staff short at the start of the 2018 harvest – the predicted labour shortage hit earlier and more severely than anticipated.

“Without intervention, the shortages experienced this year will become even more severe as the kiwifruit industry strives to take advantage of increased global demand for a product quickly becoming a fruit bowl favourite,” NZKGI says. 

In 2027, the New Zealand kiwifruit industry is forecast to produce 190 million trays of kiwifruit, up from 123 million trays in 2017.

To bring Government up to date on industry progress on finding solutions to the labour shortage, NZKGI published a report that quantifies the potential shortage and outlines the challenges the industry faces in securing staff. The report identifies a number of areas for industry to focus on to attract more seasonal workers.

NZKGI chief executive Nikki Johnson say while the 2018 labour shortage was worrying for the industry, the situation will escalate significantly if no action is taken. 

“The kiwifruit industry is growing quickly and NZKGI is committed to progressing the discussion on solutions that can mitigate the risks of labour shortages. 

“To take advantage of the growing appetite for kiwifruit, the industry’s efforts to attract people to pick, pack and prune will need to be complemented in the medium to long term by Government support to ensure a sustainable workforce for kiwifruit industry growth.”

 At a glance

- 7,000 additional seasonal workers required by 2027

- Potential workers unaware of improved payrates

- RSE workers crucial to fulfil short-term labour needs

- Report presented to Government officials for discussion


More like this

Partnership approach pays off

The partnership approach was a key to Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH) winning the industry award at the 2018 New Zealand Biosecurity Awards last week, says KVH chief executive Stu Hutchings.

Spotlight on kiwifruit helps with jobs

Publicity on a labour shortage in the kiwifruit industry last season had an interesting side effect: it attracted people to come and work in the industry, says New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers (NZKGI) chief executive Nikki Johnson.

Appeals lodged on Psa case

The Crown will appeal the High Court’s decision that the government was negligent in allowing kiwifruit vine-killing disease Psa into the country.


» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Fire sales?

Your canine crusader hears that Fonterra’s current financial woes could see the dairy co-op dumping many of its key assets.


This old mutt has been a long-time critic of the multi-national, tax-dodging, political activist group Greenpeace for its sustained and…


» Connect with Rural News