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Onions NZ host tour for government staff

Staff from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), and NZ Customs, travelled to Pukekohe and the wider Franklin district, to gain a greater understanding of the onion sector.

A one-day tour hosted by Onions NZ recently, provided a comprehensive insight into the harvesting, handling and packing functions of the onion industry. 

Staff from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), and NZ Customs, travelled to Pukekohe and the wider Franklin district, to gain a greater understanding of the onion sector.

The tour kicked-off with a field visit to Master and Sons Ltd in Pukekawa to observe on-farm facilities. Third generation grower, Jayant Master, with an impressive 30 year’s industry experience, shared his knowledge and explained how onions are harvested. He particularly highlighted the unique growing practices of the onion and the Franklin terroir (the topography, soil and climate conditions in which a crop is grown). There was also the opportunity for participants to discuss resource use, soil sustainability and biosecurity issues.

Then followed a visit to a number of packing operations to observe high volume processing, quality control, and traceability. Participants learned about the technology used, grading and prepacking techniques, through to storing methods, and getting the product ready for export.   

Onions New Zealand Chief Executive, Michael Ahern said a mid-season “on the ground” tour would best promote the full business operations rather than the traditional presentation methods.

“It was clear to us that decision makers at every level of government were not familiar enough with what we do and the substance of our industry. We also believed that we were inadvertently cut-off from important individuals who impacted the success of our industry, and we needed to rectify that,” said Mr Ahern.

“The day was also about saying thank you to the number of parties that have helped us maintain, protect and grow the business. It was important for us to demonstrate the value of export onions to the total integrated food production and soil sustainability system in the Franklin district.”

“Overall we were hoping to demonstrate the professionalism of the industry, show the amount of capital on the ground, the high level of expertise and experience of the producers and exporters, and most importantly, the capability of the industry to continue to expand at short notice. In other words, we wanted to say that we are a good and important bet for Government.”

In late 2015, Onions NZ became the first vegetable group to sign the GIA Deed for Biosecurity Readiness and Response.

GIA Secretariat Manager, Steve Rich said the event hosted by Onions NZ is a great example of GIA in action.

“Onions New Zealand is to be commended for identifying and following through on this opportunity to ensure that key influencers develop a much greater understanding of the onion sector, particularly around the issues and opportunities faced by those at the front line,” said Mr Rich.

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  • Onions NZ host tour for government staff
  • Onions NZ host tour for government staff
  • Onions NZ host tour for government staff
  • Onions NZ host tour for government staff
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