1 Jul 2015

Onions NZ to grow exports

6:58 am on 1 July 2015

The body representing the country's onion industry has grown a new skin with the aim of diversifying and increasing export markets.

Onions New Zealand, which represents growers and exporters, is now the main organisation for the industry after a number of different groups merged over the past few years.

A governance review of the organisation sparked the changes, which include appointing a chief executive and seeking an independent chairman.

Onions New Zealand's new CEO, who was also the former chairman, Michael Ahern, said it had developed a comprehensive strategic plan to grow exports from their current value of $100 million.

He said it would give the companies and government agencies it worked closely with a clear point of contact.

"There's a clear reference point for the Ministry of Foreign affairs and Trade, the Ministry for Primary Industries, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, Plant and Food Research; these are the main bodies we're interfacing with at the moment, all of whom are exceptionally important to our strategic plan."

He said the plan was, in short, a "further development of our Asian business as we seek to lower our reliance on European business".

Mr Ahern said a chairman was expected to be appointed by mid-August.