Who pays the levy?
The summerfruit Commodity Levy is paid by all summerfruit growers, on all summerfruit produced in New Zealand for commercial purposes (excluding summerfruit supplied to Heinz Wattie's Ltd for processing). The levy is used to develop industry good activities such as research, market access, communications or interaction with government on behalf of growers, and to fund the operation of the Board.
Summerfruit NZ is involved in a wide range of projects which are predominantly funded by the summerfruit Commodity Levy. Issues facing the summerfruit industry have increased in recent years and the way the industry responds has also changed. A previous focus on reduction of agrichemical use, opening new markets and climate change is now being replaced by concerns around commercial viability, improving quality, developing new technologies and decision support systems.
The organisation has a strong focus on ensuring that all levy spending is conducted with the interests of growers in mind. All expenditure is tied to the industry strategic plan which is discussed with growers regularly. All spending is tightly controlled and the budget adhered to as much as possible. Summerfruit NZ is prepared to run at a deficit, using reserve funds, in order to ensure that key activities occur. If the levy was not in place, very few of the projects conducted by Summerfruit NZ would be likely to occur.
The current rates for the summerfruit commodity levy are:
apricots, peaches, nectarines and plums
Note: At the 2011 AGM, the cherry levy was reduced from 1% to 0.75% after recommendation by Summerfruit NZ.
The levy is deducted at the first point of sale by collections agents (eg an exporter or wholesaler) and submitted to Summerfruit NZ on the grower's behalf.
Current uses of your levy
Levy payments are vital to continue the improvement of our industry – here are some of the regular uses of the funds received.
- Annual Nielsen research and reporting – annual monitoring of shopper behaviour
- Industry research and development – including apricot breeding programme, rootstock development, postharvest disinfestation techniques, brown rot management
- Benchmarking agrichemical use
- SummerGreen integrated pest management on orchard programme
- Biosecurity – working with MPI as a GIA partner
- Pest and disease management
- Managing export of summerfruit – including monitoring of changes to market access conditions, and negotiating improved market access
- Progression of the industry agrichemical strategy
- Raising awareness of summerfruit on the New Zealand Market – through regular reporting and communication
- Producing the industry magazine Summerfruit
- Scholarships – joint summer scholarships with Plant & Food Research support students developing careers in science.
Under the Commodity Levy Act each levy order must be renewed every six years. This gives growers the opportunity to confirm whether they believe the levy is of value to the industry. It also enables the industry to change or expand the nature of the levy. First issued in 1996, the summerfruit industry has held four Levy Orders; 1996, 2002, 2008 and current 2014 Order, which will expire in 2020.
The Levy Order
Whenever a levy is promulgated a 'Levy Order' is produced. The Order lays out guidelines for how the levy is to be used and what it can not be spent on. It also covers area such as record-keeping for both growers and Summerfruit NZ and information confidentiality.