Central cherry growers enjoy exporting growth
Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean said the future continued to look promising for Central Otago cherry growers with experts suggesting that production and exports will continue to grow for the next few years.
“Summerfruit NZ reports that the 2016 export value was $68 million for cherries, up by 30 percent on 2015’s $52 million.
“There were 3,408 tonnes exported in 2016 - up 25 percent on 2015.
“What’s even more exciting is that the Central Otago region is dominating exports and is estimated at being responsible for 95 percent of 2016’s exports, while only producing 50 percent of New Zealand’s cherries.
“This is great news not only for growers, but for the rural communities where they operate their businesses, boosting the local ecomomy and providing jobs and income.
“However, sourcing workers is an on-going issue with an estimated 3800 workers needed in January in Central Otago for the peak employment period.
“The Government’s Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme, which allows for the temporary entry of overseas workers to work in New Zealand’s horticulture and viticulture industries, has been successful in Central Otago and will be an important asset into the future as labour needs increase.
"I am keen to keep an eye on ensuring that there are the necessary workers available, with the success of the cherry export industry so dependent on it."
Authorised by Jacqui Dean MP, 127 Thames Street, Oamaru