Archive for December, 2010

Bananas in Dirty Pyjamas

Bananas are always good for a comment or three.  And none more than Aussie bananas.  But lets start at home.  Turners & Growers have a few good things to say about Bonita BananasMG Marketing, the importers of Dole Bananas make a fleeting comment about bananas on their website and for Gracio Bananas, imported directly by Woolworths/Progressive, information is also easily available.

One thing that all three importers offer the New Zealand consumer is access to bananas of more or less consistent quality at prices that do not fluctuate wildly.  Let’s have a quick look across the ditch, shall we?

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Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater

The further North one travels in New Zealand, the warmer it gets and the earlier various fruit and vegetable seasons start.  Added to this generally accurate statement comes the existence  of micro-climates, pockets of climatic conditions which suit one crop or another.

When people hear Dargaville or Ruawai mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind are Kumara.  Not surprising, given that 95% of the country’s crop are grown in the area.  The dairy industry comes a close second and as one follows the winding road between the  Brynderwyns  turnoff and Ruawai, across one lane bridges and mangrove swamps and through stands of cabbage trees and cattle on open paddocks, one could be forgiven for thinking that this is it.  Kumara and milk.
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What Happens When Existing Brands Get Abandoned!

Woolworths Australia has been pretty clear in its 2010 messages.  The “Triple Dip” approach to managing its supermarket brands in New Zealand will be abandoned. The Woolworths and Foodtown brands will disappear. Countdown will reign supreme and takes on the competition. Nothing wrong with that at all – and the message that an iconic New Zealand brand is up for grabs seems to be getting  through, judging by this shop sign I came across in central Wellington earlier this year!

It seems the Foodtown brand will survive after all!

Time for Reflection – in more ways than one

I had planned for some time now to use the days between Christmas and New Year to put some light hearted reflection pieces onto this blog.  Partially based on impressions gained  or photographs taken during the year but never processed at the time, partially on ‘hey, 2011 is coming up, shouldn’t we think about some New Year resolutions’, and partially on aspects about the produce industry which are worth exploration beyond a quick mention on the day they appear topical.  Add to this the fact that I have a tendency to get into ‘deep thinking’ mode this time of year anyway, given my birthday is on the last day of the year and one could expect a right little mix at this point in time.

So, that is where I had got to by the time I opened this morning’s Herald. Two articles leapt out at me amongst all the post Boxing Day sales hysteria advertisements.  The first one was an article on consumerism and choice on the lead page of the business section.  Just as I said to myself, “blimey, that looks like a serious piece of journalism, what is happening at the Herald?”, I spotted the by-line.  “From the Economist”, it said.  In other words, Granny Herald is still on holiday and can’t be bothered.

The second article was a lot shorter, actually started with a photo on the front cover and announced the death of Dennis Dutton.  Many of you may not have heard of Dennis Dutton.  Amongst his many claims to fame is that he was at some stage the Chairman of the New New Zealand Skeptics Society.  He addressed a Horticulture New Zealand conference in that capacity some years ago which is where I became aware of one his other passions, his website, Arts & Letters Daily.  This website is a gem and if you have not visited it before, do it now.  You might end up loosing yourself in it, because its intellectual pull and power is incredible – but as you emerge you will know that you have learned something as a result of visiting the site.

I will still go ahead with my plan for the blog over the next couple of weeks. In the meantime though, R.I.P. Dennis Dutton; thank you for the inspiration.

The AgriChain Centre Announces Scholarships for the 2011 IMCA Executive Diploma in Produce Marketing

 The AgriChain Centre is committed to the Horticulture New Zealand 10/2020 Strategy and enhancing the marketing effectiveness of the New Zealand produce industry. 

Education is an important business tool for the future and therefore, The AgriChain Centre, in partnership with its sister company IMCA New Zealand Ltd, is launching scholarships to the Executive Diploma in Produce Marketing course.

The opportunity currently exists for enrolment into the IMCA Executive Diploma in Produce Marketing course which is due to commence in January 2011.  This course offers New Zealand fresh produce industry managers the opportunity to obtain skills and knowledge specific to the industry. 

The Diploma in Produce Marketing is an eighteen-month, in-post, Action Learning programme based around an organisation’s key issues related to the marketing of fresh produce.  Participants will gain valuable knowledge by researching and acting upon real issues faced by their organisation. 

The topics covered during the course are:

  • Marketing Management,
  • Marketing Analysis and Decision-Making,
  • Marketing Planning and Implementation, as well as
  • Marketing Communications.

 Course delivery is substantially Internet based and complemented by Auckland based tutorials.  Tutorials are normally carried out at six weekly intervals and planned several months in advance.

The course investment is typically NZ$ 8,000 (plus GST) per Associate, however, if you are fortunate enough to be awarded an AgriChain Centre Scholarship, 50% of the fees will be met, making the course investment only $4,000 (plus GST).

Associates will become associate members of the International Management Centres Association, The Global Action Learning Business School and will gain access to IMCA’s online business library, containing some 1,200 fully searchable management and business journals. 

The investment in time varies, based on the degree of integration between an Associate’s course requirements and his/her ability to relate those to the workplace environment and activities.  On average, Associates should work on the basis of an eight-hour per week time commitment in addition to the face to face tutorial sessions.

This Diploma is suitable for growers involved in management, service company account managers, produce retailers and brokerage marketing staff.  In other words, managers working in a produce business who are used to making decisions.  There is no requirement for Associates to have any specific prior qualifications.  A commitment to the produce industry, an open mind, a willingness to learn, Internet access and the ability to use Microsoft Office products are pre-requisites.

If you require any further information or wish to apply for a scholarship please contact Dr Hans Maurer or Debbie Woods on Tel: 09-414-4536, e-mail

Visit for further general information. 

Scholarship places are limited, prompt applications are therefore essential.