Feijoas lend themselves to organic growing practises - and the industry has a strong organic group.
Organic Feijoa Growers Group
Some members of the New Zealand Feijoa Association have formed an Organic Feijoa Growers Group (OFGG). The group reasons that by working together we will have a critical mass to influence the organic feijoa industry. We will also be able to support and encourage each other in our organic horticulture.
Goals for the OFGG (Why it formed)
- To meaningfully represent a credible and critical mass of growers to better influence the organic feijoa industry for the benefit of all growers
- To better understand the size, shape and trends in the organic feijoa industry to enable growers (and buyers) to better plan their future activities
- To collaborate and communicate with other growers for individual and collective benefit
- To develop and implement a simple, and alternative, model of interaction between growers and buyers that uses OFGG as grower representatives
Strategy for the OFGG (What it is going to do)
The aim is to present tangible progress on two broad areas of activity to the OFGG and the rest of NZFGA by the 2009 conference through the least painful process possible. Those two areas are:
- Grower and Buyer/Market Relationships
- OFGG Development
At this stage most of the OFGG effort will go on developing a simple model of interaction between certified growers and buyers, with the OFGG as a co-ordinating central contact point. At first, the OFGG will concentrate only on processing grade fruit.
Growers, including smaller scale ones, can have their processing fruit considered as part of a larger certified 'industry' tonnage available to buyers. For example, a grower's 1 tonne of processing fruit may be too small for a large buyer to bother with but when that 1 tonne is added to several other tonnes it becomes part of a critical mass that the buyer will consider.
From a buyer perspective, being easily able to tap into a critical mass of certified organic processing fruit through a single point of contact will be an attractive option.
This model is voluntary. It is not intended to cut across existing grower-buyer relationships but it is hoped that the benefits will be self evident and growers and buyers will want to participate in the OFGG way of working.
The OFGG will be feeling its way for the first year or two. We don't have all the answers. We don't even have all the questions!
We welcome all your comments, questions, suggestions, ideas and support. Please don't hesitate to contact any member of the Working Party. If there are other certified growers who you think might want to be part of the OFGG, get them to contact someone on the Working Party.
We will be gathering further information in the months and years ahead (eg season start and finish times, trees planted, tonnages etc). This information will be used to develop a clearer picture of the total certified organic feijoa industry to help us all with our future business planning.
Terms of Reference for the OFGG (Operating detail)
- The OFGG works on behalf of "organic" growers which in this context means "certified organic" ie audited and accredited by a recognised independent body
- It is a special interest sub-group operating under the umbrella of the NZ Feijoa Growers Association. A member of the OFGG will be on the FGA Executive to ensure good communication and complementary activities. This is currently Jean Hollis.
- While it supports growers pursuing organic certification, it does not actively work to convert others.
- The model that encourages buyers and growers to use the OFGG as a collective point of contact is not intended to cut across existing relationships between individual growers and buyers.
OFGG Working Party
An OFGG Working Party to progress activities over the coming 12 months consists of:
- Rose Boyle, Sabzi Organics, Horowhenua. Rose.Boyle@paradise.net.nz
- Gary Campbell, Cheops Feijoas, Hastings. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jean Hollis, Kapiti Gold Organics, Te Horo, Otaki. KGO@xnet.co.nz
- Hamish Macbeth, True Blue Organics, Karamea. email@example.com
- Trevor Swan, Swantal Feijoas, New Plymouth. Swantal@xtra.co.nz
- Brendan van Oostveen, Matahua Feijoas, Manawatu. Vansx5@xtra.co.nz
Note: Jean Hollis is also on the Executive Committee of the NZ Feijoa Growers Association.