COVID19 Update

23rd of March update

You will all be aware of today’s Government announcement that New Zealand is moving to COVID-19 alert Level 3 and shortly to Level 4. This impacts all of us and we urge all to take care, follow Government instructions and keep safe.

Regarding avocado production and supply, the New Zealand Government COVID-19 website states that essential businesses, and those that support them, will continue to provide the necessities of life for everyone in New Zealand.

This means food, medicine, healthcare, energy, fuel, waste-removal, internet and financial support will continue to be available.

COVID-19 horticulture industry update following move to Alert Levels 3 and 4

This evening, more than 80 primary sector representatives attended a teleconference hosted by MPI, to discuss essential services in the primary sector. While it hasn’t answered all queries, it has now provided some clarity about continuity of business.

All food and beverage producers and processors, and their supply chains, are deemed to be essential services. Which essential businesses are included in the definition of the supply chain is still being discussed with MPI.

All orchards, packhouses, cool stores and export entities are essential services. You can continue to operate, but there will be strict rules in place that allow you to continue to do so. 

A key message from the briefing was that “we can’t change the virus to suit your operational needs; but we can change your operational needs to suit the virus”. The expectation is that you must change the way that you operate (if you haven’t done so already) to minimise the risk of spreading the virus. There must be nowhere in your supply chain that will facilitate the spread of the virus.

Therefore, to remain open for business you must be able to address the following key questions:

•    How are you ensuring that your workers are observing social distancing at home, on the way to and from work, and while on breaks?
•    How are you ensuring that your staff observe the stay at home rules at the end of each working day?
•    What personal hygiene steps do you have in place with your staff?
•    What personal protection equipment do you have available for staff?
•    What steps have you taken to limit access to the workplace?
•    How are you isolating staff to contain the risk of spread (2m rule)?
•    What processes do you have in place for staff to report illness or report potential exposure?
•    What actions will you take in the event of a confirmed infection?
•    What steps have you taken to ensure that staff who are most at risk (i.e. over 70’s) identify and isolate themselves?

All businesses will be required to register with MPI and provide answers to these questions. The online registration system will be available in the next day or so.

If you cannot answer these questions satisfactorily, you will not be able to remain open.

Please pass this information on to your suppliers/supply chain partners. They will be subject to the same rules, and will also have to close if they cannot answer the questions satisfactorily.

We will continue to update this page with any new information  specific to the avocado industry and with any useful resources.

NZ Avocado staff are all able to work from home and are available to be contacted. Our direct contact details can be found here.

Thank you to all who registered for upcoming NZ Avocado field days and sustainability workshops. Unfortunately all planned face to face events for March and April are now cancelled. We are looking into whether we can host some of these events online through webinars or live streaming and will provide an update on this shortly. Updates on planned NZ Avocado events can be found at the here.

NZ Avocado has developed a COVID-19 communications plan and is in regular communication with other horticulture sector groups and government. We will communicate any updates that impact the avocado industry as soon as we are informed.

Stay safe
Jen Scoular
CEO NZ Avocado

For more information please see links below or contact us

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