Challenges for Calla Growers in the Unsubsidized New Zealand Export Market

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  • 1 Institute of Molecular BioSciences, Massey University, Private Bag 11 222, Palmerston North, N.Z.
  • 2 Institute of Natural Resources, Massey University, Private Bag 11 222, Palmerston North, N.Z.
  • 3 Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210

Calla (Zantedeschia Spreng.) growers were studied as members of an expanding sector in the New Zealand floricultural industry. The calla sector is characterized by diverse-size firms scattered throughout the two main islands of New Zealand. Growers differ in their skill and experience with calla production. Problems are both grower-specific (e.g., control of diseases, postharvest disorders) and sector-wide. Examples of the latter include the prioritizing and funding research, interacting with science organizations and planning sector marketing strategy. Both sets of problems have been exacerbated by the progressive withdrawal of research and extension support services traditionally provided by government agencies. There is competition between the floriculture industry and calla sector-based grower organizations. The leadership role of a strong grower organization, in this case the New Zealand Calla Council (NZCC), is seen as an essential forum for growers, and as the link between growers, exporter organizations, scientists and central government. Good communications between the industry organization and growers is essential to identify and prioritizeproblems and to transfer information to individual growers through workshops, newsletters and manuals. To maintain its effectiveness, the NZCC does not satisfy the needs of smaller growers at the expense of the larger, influential growers. Rather, it seeks to the benefit the latter by upgrading the skill level of the industry, and by undertaking tasks too large for any individual business.

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