Jun 28 2022

June NZ Grower TNZ column

Pukekohe grower workshop

Tomatoes NZ (TNZ) and Vegetables New Zealand Inc hosted a workshop in Pukekohe on 18 May, updating undercover crop growers and industry representatives on a range of topics, including:

  • Bio security
  • Bio-controls and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plans
  • Energy efficiency
  • Reducing harm in horticulture

Look out for a full article on the workshop in next month’s issue.

RLAP prototype

FTEK Robotics Team

Those attending in person were fortunate to see the showcase of the Robotic Labour Assist Platform (RLAP) prototype at FTEK – a business designing and manufacturing crop maintenance and harvesting equipment for the greenhouse vegetable industry. Developed by a team with enormous Kiwi ingenuity and empathy for what growers need, the RLAP prototype features a dual arm with detachable tool heads that is capable of multi-tasking and operating at heights between 0.5m to 4.5m. It is ideal for the varied greenhouse sizes. The next stage of the project will be piloting the RLAP in the field and raising enough capital to allow it to be used commercially. For more information about the prototype, contact FTEK directly: sales@ftek.co.nz To watch a video of the RLAP in action check out this link on the Grower2Grower website.

EECA / TNZ funding for grower decarbonisation consultations

At the last TNZ Board meeting, directors agreed to partly fund energy consultants going into small to medium sized tomato businesses to provide specific ways for individual growers to decrease their reliance on fossil fuels and carbon emissions.

The consultation report will also include costs involved with making a fuel switch and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) will be available to go through the suggested options with you. Funding is through TNZ and EECA and will be limited. There is a deadline for applying for this funding, so please get in touch with Dinah Cohen as soon as possible if you are interested in pursuing this: Dinah.cohen@hortnz.co.nz

EECA have also launched a new page on its website that is a one-stop-shop for the covered crop industry with plenty of useful tools for increasing your growing operation’s energy efficiency: https://www.eeca.govt.nz/co-funding/sector-decarbonisation/support-for-covered-cropping-sector/

EECA website photo 2

Tomatoes NZ AGM

The TNZ AGM will be held 3pm - 5pm 17th August in Pukekohe and online. You need to register to be sent the details OR if you can't attend, to have your proxy vote count. Please use this link to register. HortNZ will not be holding a conference this year, however, TNZ board members will present on topics during the AGM that are relevant to all growers. More info to come.


Board nominations

Current board members, Simon Watson and Mayank (Mike) Saklani, retire by rotation this year. Both have confirmed they will make themselves available for re-election but we still have one vacancy on the board. If you are a tomato grower interested in joining the board, please get in touch with me to find out more. Dinah.cohen@hortnz.co.nz