NZ: Zespri jobs to go in kiwifruit Psa crisis - FreshFruitPortal.com

NZ: Zespri jobs to go in kiwifruit Psa crisis

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NZ: Zespri jobs to go in kiwifruit Psa crisis

More jobs are set to go in the wake New Zealand's kiwifruit Psa disease as the country's chief exporter announced it would be making staff cuts, website Stuff.co.nz reported.

Zespri chief executive Lain Jager said the company would have to "make an adjustment to the organisation" to counter an expected 20 million-tray fall in crop volume next harvest, the story reported. He said this was due to vine culling in kiwifruit capital Te Puke and "seasonal fluctuations".

The news follows hard on the heels of grower and packer Seeka's request last week for redundancy applications from staff.

Jager told the website he has discussed a target number of redundancies with the Zespri board and staff would be told of the decision next month or December.

Zespri, the sole marketer of New Zealand kiwifruit to all countries except Australia, last year reported sales of NZ$1.5 billion (US$1.12 billion).

"This year we are selling a 115 million-tray record crop," he was quoted as saying.

"We expect a reduction next year to 95 million trays. It's not even fruit set [of next season's crop] yet so it's very, very early, that reduction is [likely] for two reasons, Psa and partly seasonal because of the very large yields."

It was too early to say if redundancies would include executive positions. Zespri has 270 staff, 150 of whom are New Zealand-based.

Jager added that a component of  senior staff salaries were "at risk pay".

KiwifruitVineHealth said 312 orchards or 9.3%  of all New Zealand orchards were infected with the most virulent form of the bacterial disease Psa-V.

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