22 Jun 2009

Kiwifruit growers give extra money to hail damage fund

9:59 am on 22 June 2009

Kiwifruit growers have agreed to contribute voluntary payments to boost compensation to Bay of Plenty growers who suffered serious losses in last month's hail storms.

The storms on 11 May battered about 350 orchards in the country's biggest kiwifruit-growing region, ruining more than 2 million trays of green kiwifruit and about 150,000 trays of the gold variety, which were mostly harvested when the hail struck.

The industry operates a hail compensation fund, similar to insurance cover, to provide financial support for growers hit by hail.

The fund has $2 million to compensate for green kiwifruit losses and an equal amount for gold kiwifruit.

While that will be enough to cover gold losses up to a limit of $4 a tray, it will not be enough to cover the green fruit losses.

But Kiwifruit Growers president Peter Ombler says the industry has agreed to supplement the green kiwifruit compensation fund from other sources.

Mr Ombler says the industry will try to get as close to $3 a tray as possible and that would cover slightly more than growers' production costs for the next season.