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GO WHERE journey of theTHE seed GROWTH IS

MICROGREENS Tomato brown rugose fruit virus



Recently we attended a family wedding and some of the guests were good friends of ours. He works for Macquarie Group and she has worked many years in media/marketing with companies such as Xero and organisations like the Crusaders. Bottom line is they are smart people.


MANA - charlotte@ 7 67 1 30 1 02

They are relatively health conscious and knowing my profession they were very earnest in their need to discuss produce in NZ. They thought they were eating a healthy diet with lots of fresh vegetables and fruit at the core of their meals and snacks. However, they were very concerned that what if what they thought was healthy was in fact not? They were particularly concerned if any of the produce contained GMO’s and were under the impression that all produce was heavily sprayed unless organic. GMO’s and the use of agrichemicals on our produce is a discussion I find commonly in amongst our friends and family and others who are not involved in the industry, and it is probably the single biggest question I am asked once people know I sell vegetable seed as a career. In our Summer edition my editorial spoke of the need for our industry and the companies within to be better at telling our story, and I think this really lies at the heart of the issues we have with these common misconceptions of our industry.

South Pacific Seed Sales (NZ) Ltd 12 Alpito Place ∙ PO Box 804 Pukekohe 2340 Phone +64 9 239 0890 Freephone 0800 77 22 43





I shouldn’t be surprised fielding these questions after 17 years in the industry, but I am still often left perplexed when people ask me if our produce is genetically modified. I normally stare incredulously at the person before responding “but it is prohibited to import GMO into NZ” (note: I am generalising here, best not to get into EPA approvals etc…). Living and breathing seed and import requirements as I do every day I have wrongly assumed that this very clear piece of information is well known by all of the New Zealand public when in fact the case is very few. I note back in February, Countdown launched into the foray of featuring some of their suppliers, our customers with their produce in an attempt to engage the consumer in feeling closer to the source of their food. Whilst this is great and we do have a good looking array of growers to showcase – perhaps they and the industry would be better focusing on how the produce is grown? It is GMO free, often grown as part of an IPM program, there are many more tools available to grower’s than just chemical for managing their crops. Like many of the primary industries under the spotlight for their environmental practices currently, we do have to be sure that if we are going to tell our story and the good things we are all doing that we can in fact back it up.






2 News & Events


The dynamic world of biodiversity


Far east markets are leading the pack


Go where the growth is




The business of growing



DISCLAIMER Descriptions, recommendations and information provided are based on an average of data and observations collected from our trials, and shall correspond as closely as possible to practical experience. This information shall be provided to assist professional growers and users, whereby variable local conditions must be taken into account. Significant variations may occur in the performance of products due to a range of conditions including cultural/ management practices, climate, soil type and geographic location. Under no circumstances shall South Pacific Seed Sales (NZ) Ltd accept liability based on such information for deviating results in the cultivated product. The Purchaser shall itself determine whether the items are suitable for the intended cultivation and whether they can be used under local circumstances. | 01


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Prime Delica has been a longtime premium delicatessen supplier to 7-Eleven. To meet increasing demand for fresh, healthy and pesticide-free food, Prime Delica built a new large-scale vertical farm in the city of Sagamihara in the Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. “It’s difficult to get a good quality and stable food supply from the open field due to the effect of climate change on crop growth,” said Mr. Kazuki Furuya, President of 7-Eleven. “We believe the Sagamihara vertical farm is a great step to guarantee safe and healthy food for our customers.”

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SIGNIFY HELPS PRIME DELICA TO GROW CROPS Signify helps Japanese food supplier Prime Delica to grow high-quality lettuce varieties, spinach and coriander all year round using the Philips GreenPower LED production module range and offer customers of 7-Eleven crops with higher vitamin levels and nutritional value.

“We always aim for the best quality crops and want to guarantee customers a stable supply of healthy vegetables,” said Masayoshi Saito, president of Prime Delica. “LED lighting makes it possible to steer the cultivation process by adjusting the colour, duration and positioning of the lighting. After years of research with Tamagawa University, CCS and the plant specialists at Signify, we have found our recipe for growth with Philips GreenPower LED production modules, which allow us to fully control the growth cycle of our crops with the right lighting strategy.” Prime Delica uses different light recipes at different growth stages for each of the crops, with a pre-harvest treatment to increase the vitamin C level to meet functional food requirements. Apart from the premium quality, crops coming from their vertical farm also have a much lower bacterial count and are grown using no pesticides, a big advantage for 7-Eleven. “We do not use any pesticides because our crops grow in a closed environment, which also means there is no air contamination,” explained Mr. Saito. “Our crops can be delivered to 7-Eleven stores within 48 hours from harvest and are very fresh and full of vitamins. The cost price per crop is higher than in the open field. However, the overall costs of processing are vastly reduced in terms of logistics, checking and washing with very little waste. It’s a cost reduction mechanism if we consider the factory in total.” Prime Delica has automated the entire process from seeding to harvest, minimising manual operation time and improving the hygiene of the crops. Robots carry out logistical operations. A total lettuce growth cycle (frillice, red leaf and bimittuce varieties) from seeding to harvesting now only takes about 39 days, compared to 70 days in the open field. Production can even reach up to 3,200 kg of lettuce a day. The new Sagamihara facility started operating in January 2019, and the company is looking to expand further in 2019 and 2020. Prime Delica is considering to grow other crops like strawberries in similar vertical farm facilities in the future. For more information, visit |

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WENDY'S IS ADVERTISING THEIR GREENHOUSE-GROWN TOMATOES Remember how last year Wendy's, the US third-largest fast-food burger chain, said it would only be sourcing vine-ripened greenhouse-grown tomatoes for use in its US and Canada locations? It seems they've succeeded: Ever since this year they promote their new burgers with 'greenhouse-grown' tomatoes. Tomato supply transition Greenhouse-grown is made into a quality label by the burger chain. Last year they announced they wanted to transition their tomato supply to vine-ripened tomatoes, exclusively from greenhouse farms. "Driven by our commitment to provide the freshest, highest-quality food possible for our customers", they explained, stating it is the first-of-its-kind sourcing strategy for a U.S.-based, quick-service restaurant of Wendy's scale.

YOUNG VEGETABLE GROWER OF THE YEAR 2019 For the second year in a row, there are two winners of the Young Vegetable Grower of the year competition, with Austin Singh Purewal and Craig Botting both being crowned champions at a gala dinner in Pukekohe. Second place/runner up overall goes to Sean Cannady from A.S. Wilcox. The day-long competition saw entrants compete in a series of practical and theoretical challenges designed to test the skills needed to run a successful vegetable growing business, from squash and onion quality control to tractor proficiency. The awards were finalised after a speech competition, where the seven contestants spoke about growing in a climate of change. First prize for speech went to Jaeseung Lee, from Superb Herb.





ARE PLANT-BASED PRODUCTS A THREAT TO NZ'S MEAT INDUSTRY? A new report claims our dairy and meat industry is under threat from a growing global demand for vegan products. The study was carried out by industry research company IBISWorld, and said sales of vegan food products have soared in the past five years in New Zealand, with major food manufacturers increasingly innovating to introduce new products to keep up with demand. However, it said as the cost of meat and international meat exports continue to rise, the surging demand for vegan products represent a growing threat to New Zealand's meat and dairy industries. According to IBISWorld research, the demand for plant-based products has surged in recent years, with food manufacturers in New Zealand constantly having to introduce new products to keep up. "The quality of these products is also increasing at a rapid pace, with high-end vegan alternatives to meat and dairy foods continuously being launched," said IBISWorld Senior Industry Analyst, James Caldwell. "Last month, for example, Unilever launched a vegan alternative to its Magnum ice cream products, which has already received a lot of attention locally," he said. He said the rising cost of meat in New Zealand is increasing the demand for plant-based products. "The price of meat and dairy products in New Zealand has strongly increased over the past decade, limiting local consumer demand for these products. This lack of domestic demand has also forced many producers to turn to overseas markets to sell their products in order to sustain growth." Caldwell said the rising cost of meat in New Zealand has encouraged an increase in demand for plant-based foods, which have become increasingly price-competitive with meat and dairy products. Rising health consciousness has also been cited as driving New Zealanders to go vegan. "As obesity rates continue to rise among New Zealanders, low-fat dairy alternatives are becoming more attractive to increasingly health conscious consumers. In addition, as the quality of milk and cheese alternatives improves, the higher the demand will be for these vegan products." Caldwell said while exports of meat and dairy products will help the meat and dairy industries in New Zealand stay afloat, they will still face challenges ahead locally if this trend continues to gain traction and prices continue to increase.

Magnum recently launched a vegan Magnum ice cream. DAIRY FREE ALMOND AND CLASSIC.



Produce – fruit and vegetables – is a big category with very high household penetration regardless of the country or continent in question. While that makes produce a significant contributor to overall supermarket retail sales, finding growth in a mature market is not easy. Let’s take the mobile phone industry as an example. For many years, growth came easy simply because of more consumers buying and using cell phones. But little by little, the market started to saturate and the cell phone companies were forced to change tactics from merely chasing new users to chasing more dollars among current subscribers. Subsequently, their consumer outreach has switched from the base need of having a mobile phone to having a bigger data, text and calling plan, the need for a fancier phone and having access for the whole family, as well as attempts to get people to switch from one provider to another by pointing out competitive advantages.

A BRIGHT FUTURE LIES AHEAD “Driving growth in produce is much the same as making consumers spend more money on their latest new smartphone,” explains Anne-Marie Roerink, a principal at 210 Analytics, a U.S. market research firm specialised in food retailing. “As an industry, we have to inspire consumers to buy fresh produce as often as possible as well as find ways to prompt them to spend more than they did before – preferably on our items or at our store – by leveraging the four guiding principles of category growth. By applying basic category management, combined with supply chain efficiencies and fuelled by constant innovation, a bright future lies ahead for continued produce growth.”

GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR CATEGORY GROWTH To best understand how all players in the produce industry can work together to support greater consumption and spending, we have to put the consumer in the middle of our game plan. After all, in a scenario where consumers buy more produce, we all win – from farm to fork. When we look at our world through the shoppers eyes, four guiding principles of category growth emerge: participation, trips, spending and operational excellence. What can brands and retailers do to safeguard sales and create loyal, lasting relationships in a world where many are vying for a bite out of the produce spend? International produce market experts Hans Verwegen and Anne-Marie Roerink weigh in from the European and American perspectives.

TIPPING POINT IN GROCERY RETAILING From the explosion of new offerings, store formats and competition to changing consumer habits, the speed of change in retailing appears to have hit an inflexion point in Europe and America. What is the role produce can play in the battle for the grocery share? Roerink: For U.S. retailers, produce plays a critical role in the grocery battle. Produce along with meat are the two most important departments for picking one store over another. But traditional food retailers aren’t the only ones to realise that produce is a sure winner and we see innovation from produce vending machines to monthly produce subscription kits. This means traditional retailers have to be better than ever in fine-tuning quality, assortment, pricing and service to build strong retailer/customer relationships that can elevate loyalty beyond price. Verwegen: In the EU, discounters have been challenging traditional supermarkets on all four growth principles for years. In Germany, more than half of all vegetables are now sold by discounters with smaller assortments, but sharper prices and higher velocity. Supermarkets have been fighting back by fine-tuning assortment to the local store audience. We increasingly see small ‘on-the-go’ stores, particularly in urban areas, featuring online ordering with delivery or collect options. In Southern Europe, a larger share is still being sold through street markets. This market atmosphere, combined with self-service, is being integrated into the European retail model. However, given the lack of personal customer service, messaging prompting optimised spending has to be superb.


Participation Tactics aimed at optimising the number of people purchasing fresh produce and encouraging daily consumption across all established and new meal occasions. 04 |

Trip frequency Prompting shoppers to visit the store often and to purchase produce when in the store regardless of whether they had planned to or not.

Greater spending Strategies encouraging greater spending on premium, higher margin items, such as specialty items or organic for a better top and bottom line.

Operational excellence High quality produce and eye-catching displays solidify planned purchases and may prompt impulse. Additionally, satisfied shoppers are higher spending and more loyal.

BRING ON THE PRODUCE! Let’s talk some more about the guiding principles of growth, starting with maximising household participation and meal occasions. Roerink: In the U.S., produce has a household penetration of 99.7% so locating new customers is like finding a needle in a haystack. Instead, efforts focus on eating produce more often by ensuring produce is on the radar for every daily meal occasion: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and drinks, including produce-infused water and smoothies. Retailers are bringing convenience-focused solutions and merchandise produce into other departments, such as potatoes or stir-fry veggies in the meat department. Additionally, as Americans are increasingly looking to food in disease management and prevention, the industry started to highlight specific benefits, such as Vitamin C, antioxidant or fibre to encourage eating fresh produce over taking supplements. Retailers and brands use in-store signage,

PRE-TAILING, RETAILING AND POST-TAILING: ENGAGE TO DRIVE TRIPS How about trips? What is happening there? Roerink: American consumers shop for groceries nowhere near as often as Europeans, averaging 1.5 weekly trips. On top of it, just 56 percent of trips include fresh produce. To encourage purchases, American retailers are focused on being a produce destination, with a great variety of high-quality, price-competitive offerings. Second, retailers try to optimise the number of times produce is bought when people are in the store through eye catching displays, promotions and cross-merchandising. Lastly, retailers try to connect with shoppers outside the store through social

DRIVING A PREMIUM BASKET: ORGANIC, LOCAL, VALUE-ADDED AND BRANDS The third guiding principle for category growth is driving a more premium basket Roerink: This is probably the biggest opportunity in the U.S., from organic and locally-sourced to value-added (processed) and brands. For instance, organic represents almost one-tenth of all fresh produce dollars, but reflects 20 percent of all growth. Cut veggies deliver a much sought after solution for time-starved consumers and are delivering tremendous growth, far ahead of fruit. Lastly, producer brands are making strong inroads in the produce department, recognised for their quality, consistency and

WHEN THE VALUE IS CLEAR, THE DECISION IS EASY The fourth guiding principle of category growth is operational excellence. What can retailers, and other players in the industry, do here? Roerink: In produce, the eyes decide. Bad quality or poor appearance can cost you a planned produce purchase, regardless of how cheap the offer. The industry can work together on optimal quality, freshness and variety. Additionally, great execution can generate an impromptu purchase. Eye-catching displays, sampling, great promotions and an enthusiastic produce clerk are top ways to drive unplanned produce purchases. American retailers are investing in retail theatre and customer service to make

package callouts, recipes and different preparation ideas to drive demand by educating consumers about benefits and nutrition. Verwegen: Traditionally, the focus in vegetable consumption in Northern Europe resides within the dinner meal occasion. But the younger generations are moving away from three meals a day and integrate many more meal occasions — driving increased consumption of salads and vegetable snacks. Fresh cut facilitates easy consumption and a tailored, innovative assortment of salad and stir-fry is what consumers expect in today’s market, particularly Dutch and English consumers, to the point of driving store preference. Retailers are starting to experiment with merchandising assortment based on meal occasions – snack, dinner, smoothies, etc... – rather than by item. A good example is the summer barbecue, with a focus on sweet peppers, squash and other grilling vegetables.

media, texts, apps, emails and circulars to entice them with hot deals or delicious recipes to buy produce just once more that week. Verwegen: Creating more purchase moments is a significant challenge in growing overall produce sales as trips have been slowly declining for years. For example, Market Research Institute GfK reported an average of 99 trips in the Netherlands in 2017. How can we get back to 100, or even 105? Price-based promotions through flyers remain important, but digital offerings are growing fast. In England quantity-based promotions (X packs for Y price) have particularly been popular. However, most retailers are moving back to price reduction based offerings as trips started dropping, effectively accomplishing the opposite of creating more purchase moments.

safety. All these items present higher sales and margin opportunities for retailers and by educating shoppers on the benefits and stories; there is still a lot of upside. Verwegen: Take tomatoes as an example. Taste is the overriding driver of price premiums. Prices range an unbelievable 2 to 20 euros per kilogram; where the true premium is priced per 100 grams instead of kilogram. Value versus premium choices have become a fairly easy proposition for the consumer through private brand system applied by many Northern European retailers. Choices are highlighted by price and packaging of the own brands. A true selective top product marketed under a producer brand can help drive easier acceptance of premium pricing.

sure every store trip includes the produce department. After all, a wow in produce, truly is a win all the way around. Verwegen: We see very similar trends in Europe, with a lot of focus on the displays, store décor, frequent rotation of items, seasonal must-haves, etc… – all aimed at consumers spending more than they had planned. These are ideas we need to explore wherever they come from and we are finding inspiration in other areas of the store, different countries and in all channels of retail. As a player in the supply chain, we recommend you look at the fruit and vegetable world through the eyes of the shopper: visit stores and study ideas that create value. With the four guiding principles in mind, I’m convinced the vegetable industry still has a lot of growth potential. | 05









BOBBIN is a radish bred specifically for sprouting/microgreen production. BOBBIN produces a crisp, white stem with bright green leaf. BOBBIN offers growers an attractive option for sprouting and microgreen mixes. BOBBIN has a strong radish flavour.

BIBBLE is a pink kohlrabi bred specifically for sprouting and microgreen production. The contrast between the stem and cotyledon colour of BIBBLE has eye appeal for sprout and microgreen mixes. With a subtle flavour BIBBLE is interesting as a stand-alone product also.

FIRA is a broccoli specifically bred for the sprouting and microgreen market. FIRA produces an attractive green leaf with a light green stem which offers a strong spicy brassica flavour. Quick to emerge, this variety will be ready for harvest in 5-7 days.

VARIETY FEATURES • Mid green cotyledon • White stems • Spicy flavour

VARIETY FEATURES • Dark green cotyledon • Pink stem • Mild mustard flavour

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VARIETY FEATURES • Dark green cotyledon • Light green stem • Strong brassica flavour

To request commercial seed or a sample for your evaluation of these varieties please contact the SPS office on

0800 77 22 43







RASPBERRY is a red amaranthus suitable for sprouting and microgreen production. RASPBERRY is a unique product with regards to flavour and cotyledon characteristics. The cotyledons are oval shaped with a slight point and have a vibrant red colour.

ROUGE is a purple beet suitable for sprouting and microgreen production. The unique elongated, dark purple cotyledon makes ROUGE a variety which is sought after by chefs as a garnish. The sweeter beet flavour adds another dimension to brassica dominated mixes.

LOLLIPOP is a purple orach suitable for sprouting and microgreen production. The cotyledons of LOLLIPOP have a more elongated shape which provides a unique element to sprout and microgreen mixes. LOLLIPOP will add another flavour dimension to brassica dominated mixes.




• Red cotyledon

• Purple cotyledon

• Purple cotyledon

• Red stem

• Purple stem

• Purple stem

• Aniseed like flavour

• Sweet beet like flavour

• Sweet flavour | 07



Biodiversity is a trend worldwide. In all layers of society, there is a need to protect our fragile planet and its natural resources. The United Nations has even nominated the decade 2011-2020 the ‘decade of biodiversity’. So what’s going on in this dynamic world of diversity? Biodiversity embraces the total diversity in nature, so microorganisms, plants and animals. “In plant breeding, biodiversity stands for the wild relatives of our food crops as well as for landraces that have adapted perfectly to their surrounding natural habitat over centuries,” explains Gene Bank Manager, Mariann Börner. “But it also stands for the new diversity created by a breeder with his crossings and selections during the breeding process. Biodiversity is the basis and the result of plant breeding. A breeder is only as good as the genetic diversity of the plants he breeds. Biodiversity is thus the basis of our food."

BIODIVERSITY AND FUTURE CHALLENGES For a breeder, the natural occurring diversity is the most important source of his work. Here valuable new traits can be found and integrated in a new variety. Traits like resistance to new diseases or traits that help adaptation to new production systems. Besides resistance, productivity, colour, shape and taste, other traits that may also be important in the near future are present. Conserving our plant biodiversity can help us tackle future global challenges like natural and societal changes. For example, different natural habitats, new production systems, new evolving plant diseases, climate change and food security. “With an ever-changing environment, we may find the answers amongst the wild relatives. But biodiversity also enables us to adapt our products to the changing demands of the end-consumer. Whenever a breeder wants to look for new traits, he starts his journey through his own genetic diversity.”

GENE BANKS However, one might ask whether breeding with cultivated varieties harms biodiversity. The gene pool of a cultivated variety is less diverse than that of its wild cousin. In fact, the reverse is true: breeders bring traits together and thus help nature create even more diversity. Furthermore, 08 |

the plant breeding sector plays an essential role in the support of global gene banks. Through climate change, urbanisation and other social developments, plant genetic resources, like the ancestors of the vegetables that are so familiar to us, are at risk. Every day, species are lost. Over a hundred years ago, the first public and private gene banks were created to protect endangered plant species. Plant material, usually in the form of seeds, is stored here at a low temperature and low humidity. Such initiatives are vital for the survival and innovation of plant breeding. Breeding companies therefore support the activities of the global gene banks with their expertise. “We exchange knowledge, study how we can optimally protect biodiversity and analyse the wild material to see what traits they possess. We also support gene banks in their seed production to protect the plant genetic resources. Together, we ensure that we maintain genetic diversity within society.”

NATIONAL COLLECTIONS Gene banks thus guarantee a living environment for the plant. But this is also where the challenge lies. Every country is proud of its own biodiversity and wants to keep it for itself. The result? A vast number of national collections, with no one knowing exactly what the other country has to offer. “Each country has its own information system with traits that they record. Furthermore, many collections are not accessible to everyone and no one is exactly sure about the extent of the biodiversity. If the advantages and the potential of gene banks are not immediately visible, how can you then justify the necessity for the high, long-term investments?”

GLOBAL EFFORT The Svalbard Global Seed Vault in the Norwegian permafrost is a perfect example of the added value of gene banks. The vault was set up to guarantee a backup of our plant biodiversity in the case of drought,

disease or catastrophes. Many countries save a backup of their seeds in this joint gene bank. In September 2015, the first extraordinary request was made: the Syrian gene bank, formerly based in Aleppo, requested back thousands of crop samples because of the effect of the Syrian war. These samples are now stored in a gene bank in Lebanon to safeguard the agricultural heritage and its independent use. Fresh material will be brought back to the vault after successful regeneration. “Assuming that the doors of Svalbard are not opened for the next 200 years, the importance of this biodiversity backup showed much sooner. Once again, it demonstrates that conserving biodiversity is a global effort.”

POLITICS With growing awareness of biodiversity in society and increasing numbers of interested parties, the subject is becoming a more prominent feature on political agendas. The Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD), the International Treaty for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) and the Nagoya Protocol stimulate and regulate the joint protection of biodiversity, its sustainable use and fair distribution of the benefits for the use of material. But there’s still a long way to go with new international legislation. “We all agree that the protection of plant biodiversity, its use in plant breeding and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits should be a global effort. Currently the political and juridical field is scattered. Access to new germplasm is regulated by country specific laws worldwide as well as by European access and benefit-sharing regulation. Our goal is to get a uniform and practical guidance, that is accessible in English for all countries on how to access germplasm and how to negotiate the conditions of use.”

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault in the Norwegian permafrost is a perfect example of the added value of gene banks.

THE ORIGIN OF BIODIVERSITY People have been breeding and selecting plants for decades. But somewhere there is an origin. Lettuce for example, originates in the Mediterranean, cucumbers and the cucumber family have their origins in India and Southeast Asia, while peppers and tomatoes come from South America. It is here where the crop once originated centuries ago that we find the greatest biodiversity for that particular crop. From the place of origin, the crop wandered all over the world, adapting through evolution to the different living conditions. In addition, farmers sometimes worked with a certain variety for a long time: they harvested the seeds and then sowed them for the new crop. This is how the many different varieties originated and how biodiversity expanded over the centuries.

1. China: chinese cabbage, onion, cucumber 2. India: eggplant, cucumber, radish 3. Central Asia: onion, spinach 4. Mediterrean Sea: cabbage, lettuce, celery, radicchio 5. Southern Mexico and Central America: pepper, pumpkin 6. Northeastern South America, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru: pumpkin, tomato, pepper

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6b 6c

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ANISA is a vigorous dill for cool season production. Producing bushy plants that fill out the sleeve, ANISA is well suited to pot production. Aromatic, ANISA has the characteristic aniseed-like flavour. May mature more quickly than current standards during cooler conditions.

CILANTRO is a commodity line for producers who value the economic benefits of this variety along with a quality product. The established market standard for coriander production, CILANTRO is widely grown under many different production environments with excellent results. A slower bolting type which is aromatic with good flavour, CILANTRO produces tall, erect plants of good colour. • Mid-green leaf colour

ELIDIA is a Genovese basil with intermediate resistance to fusarium - making it an ideal choice for hydroponic, potted herb production. ELIDIA is of medium vigour and can be grown through all seasons in hydroponic situations. ELIDIA produces even leaf numbers all the way down the leaf so the plant does not have a stalky stem appearance. ELIDIA can also be grown for fresh market due to its even growth and disease resistance in the changeable conditions of Autumn when fusarium can limit production.

• Thickly feathered leaf


VARIETY FEATURES • Mid-dark green leaf • Finely feathered leaf • Vigorous and erect plant habit • Suitable for open field or hydroponic production systems Seed not available until December 2019


• Erect plant habit

• Dark green leaf colour

• Suitable for open field or hydroponic production systems

• Cupped leaf

Untreated seed available

To request commercial seed or a sample for your evaluation of these varieties please contact the SPS office on

0800 77 22 43 10 |

• Compact to medium plant habit • Suitable for hydroponic production systems • Strong tolerance to fusarium

TOMATO BROWN RUGOSE FRUIT VIRUS (TOBRFV) What is it? Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV) is a member of the Tobamoviruses genus and is a relatively new virus closely related to Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) and Tomato mosaic virus (ToMV). Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) and capsicum (Capsicum annuum) are the main hosts. Petunia (Petunia hybrida) and certain weeds like black nightshade (Solanum nigrum) and goosefoot (Chenopodium sp.) have been shown to be hosts in experiments and may act as reservoirs for ToBRFV.


pread?What does it look like?

ansmitted from plant to plant by Symptoms on tomato fruits include yellow spotting and s which discolouration, include common cultural green spots and deformations, green grooves and irregular brown clothes, spots. Fruits may be deformed nated tools, equipment, hands, and have irregular maturation. On tomato leaves, ToBRFV plants. Volunteer plants symptoms crop appear as and mosaic symptoms, spots and Leaves can also appear narrowed, puckered d speciesyellowing. can serve as pathogen and deformed. time being, seed transferability of een demonstrated, but it cannot be ruled Why is it important? es are very persistent and can last for a Tomatoes are a host of ToBRFV. Crop production plants, and survive onprimary inert materials and tomato quality can be affected thereby significantly n plant remains, substrate and in soil is of special concern impactingin their market value. ToBRFV because of its ability to overcome resistance bred into ir virulence.


Fig 1: Mosaic pattern on leaves and spotty leaves. Image: Diana Godinez,

conventional tomato varieties against other Tobamoviruses.

How it spread? gose fruit virusdoes (ToBRFV) was first ToBRFV is easily transmitted plant to plant by atoes in Israel in 2014 and Jordan infrom 2015. mechanical means which include common cultural ecently occurred in Germany and Italy on practices, contaminated tools, equipment, hands, Mexico on tomato peppers. clothes, soil and and chilli infected plants. Volunteer crop plants

Fig 2: Brown rugose fruits. Image: Diana


and solanaceous weed species can serve as pathogen reservoirs. For the time being, seed transferability of ToBRFV tect my industry? has not been demonstrated, but it cannot be ruled out. Tobamoviruses very presence persistent and ction site frequently are for the of can last for a long time on host plants, and survive on inert materials (clothing, unusualtools), symptoms. Make sure you are in plant remains, in substrate and in soil without losing mon pests diseases of your industry theirand virulence.

nise something different.

Where is it present? Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV) was first identified on tomatoes in Israel in 2014 and Jordan in 2015. Outbreaks have recently occurred in Germany and Italy on tomatoes, and in Mexico on tomato and chilli peppers.

How can I protect my industry? Check your production site frequently for the presence of new diseases and unusual symptoms. Make sure you are familiar with common pests and diseases of your industry so you can recognise something different.

Fig 3: Typical fruit symptoms with yellow spots. Image: Dr Aviv Dombrovsky,

Version 1. March 2019


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FAR EAST MARKETS are leading the pack

Plant Factories are ready for rapid growth

In Plant Factories with Artificial Light (PFALs), you can grow crops all year round under perfect conditions. In multiple layers on top of each other if you wish. This yields many advantages and a couple of not insignificant disadvantages: high investment because of energy costs, as well as a significant amount of damage if the crop needs to be written off due to technical failure. Despite these challenges, vertical farming is getting a lot of interest and expanding rapidly. 12 |

Anyone following the reports on vertical and city farming will know that a PFAL does not guarantee success or a high return on investment. A significant number of businesses have had to stop trading due to high costs, technical failure and/or disappointing sales results. Nevertheless, the number of new companies is growing steadily and investors and technology companies continue to fund growth and technical innovation. According to experts, at least 200 PFALs were established worldwide in the last two years. “I think that this trend will continue over the next decade,” says Senior Product Specialist Jan van Kuijk from Enza Zaden. “First in Asia and the Middle East. North America also has enough support for further growth. Progress will be much slower in Europe, but there too, vertical farms will be established over time that can serve specific market segments in a profitable manner.”

THIRD GENERATION “Vertical farming has already completed several development phases and is extremely high-tech,” adds colleague and Portfolio Manager Lettuce & Endive Anh Nguyen. “Fluorescent lighting has been replaced by more efficient LED lights and companies have – together with the lighting industry – developed various light recipes tailored to specific crops, mainly leafy crops and herbs. The third development phase is currently being completed, in which customised light recipes and remote cultivation management are being developed further. Using sensors, vision, smart phones and apps, the cultivation process can in principle – be monitored and managed from anywhere in the world, 24/7.” According to Nguyen, the ongoing growth in illuminated cultivation – both in PFALs and in glasshouses – will be associated with cost reductions in the accompanying technology. At the same time, further development of cultivation concepts and cultivation management will result in a higher output. “This will enable companies to lower their cost prices, which is particularly important in Europe. After all, here vertical farms experience more competition from conventional producers.”

DRIVING FORCES PER REGION Lecturer Jasper den Besten from HAS University of Applied Sciences, Den Bosch, supports this. He has been a board member of the globally active Association for Vertical Farming for many years. “The factors that can explain the position and development speed of vertical farming differ per region,” he says. “In Japan and Taiwan, consumers in large cities have an urgent need for fresh vegetables that are guaranteed to be clean and safe. Due to the high standard of living, they are willing and able to pay a lot for this. In addition, these countries are very focused on new technology. It is therefore not surprising that vertical farming has taken off in these countries in particular. Japanese cities already have about 200 plant factories and there are about 100 in Taiwan. Together, this is more than in the rest of the world. The business climate is also favourable in Singapore, a number of Chinese and Korean cities and the Middle East. I would not be surprised if Japanese producers start taking part there in addition to local producers.” According to the vertical farming expert, the development in North America is primarily driven by investors and marketeers, who think that large cities have enough purchasing power and interest to make concepts based on PFALs distinctive and profitable. “Europe is located somewhere in between,” he continues. “Northern Europeans are quite no-nonsense and have the luxury of a wide and varied range of fresh vegetables at a relatively low cost. There is a movement that is working towards fair prices for food products. Once growers receive higher wages for their work, vegetables will become more expensive and that will improve the competitive position of vertical farms. Another aspect that is becoming increasingly important, is the fluctuating product quality and year-round availability that are associated with the conventional production methods. Supermarkets do not like this fluctuation. Plant factories can eliminate these fluctuations and uncertainties and should be able to charge a slightly higher price for this. A cost price that is currently too high for Europe.”

LETTUCE FACTORIES IN METRO STATIONS So, the focus remains on the Far East for the latest developments. Not least because the Japanese Association for Vertical Farming invests in R&D on behalf of its members. In South Korea, the wealthy market leaders MEI and Mireawon are also moving forward. Area Manager Japan & Korea Young Han encountered a new phenomenon in the metro stations of Seoul this year: lettuce factories behind glass walls, fitted with machines where hungry commuters can take a locally grown, automatically harvested and freshly packaged head of lettuce from the wall. “At first I did not believe my eyes, but it is a brilliant idea,” he says enthusiastically. “Every day millions of commuters see how the crops grow under LED lights and how they are automatically harvested and packaged. You cannot get any fresher or cleaner and it is the ultimate example of local-for-local. This appeals to many people. Whether this concept will be profitable in the long term remains to be seen, but it is certainly original.”

DIFFERENT SELECTION METHOD All the experts agree that cost price reduction is one of the major challenges facing vertical farmers, wherever they are in the world. According to Van Kuijk Enza Zaden can help with this: “Seed companies have always selected their varieties under varying climatic and light conditions,” he explains. “In a plant factory, these conditions are in principle always constant. In order to know how varieties will perform under such conditions, they should also be tested under these conditions. We have our own PFAL in Enkhuizen, where we can objectively test relevant crops and varieties. We are already seeing that this results in different choices than in the selection programmes for conventional cultivation methods.” | 13


Your business’s cash flow can be adversely affected by your debtors not paying your invoices on time. It can often feel like you are acting as a lender to your debtors, by providing them goods and services and they then expect to be able to pay over time or not at all in breach of your terms of trade.

If your debtor is a registered Company you have an additional option to obtain payment of your unpaid invoices by way of Statutory Demand which is available under the Companies Act 1993 (“the Act”). A Statutory Demand is demand in a form set out under the Act which is then personally served on the debtor company. It is the first step in the Liquidation process, of applying to place a company into Liquidation. Often a debtor company will pay on a Statutory Demand and you will not need to proceed any further. Once a debtor company is served with the Statutory Demand they then have 15 working days to pay the debt along with the costs of preparing and serving the Statutory Demand, if they do not pay within that time frame they will be deemed to have committed an act of insolvency, as they are unable to pay their due debts and we would discuss with you proceeding to issue Liquidation Proceedings on the debtor company. In order to serve a Statutory Demand on your debtor, we need to satisfy ourselves of the following: •

That the debt is due, may seem simple, but often in contracts or terms, due dates may differ.

That the amount owing is more than $1000.00.

That there is no substantial dispute as to whether the debt is due and owing, to avoid this we will write a legal letter of demand to the debtor prior to issuing a Statutory Demand. If the debtor has a substantial dispute they have the opportunity to respond at this time.

That the debt is owed by a company registered in accordance with the Act and has not been struck off or is not in the process of being struck off, this is easily determined by searching the Companies Website and ensuring the invoices etc… are made out to the company and not for example a director in his personal capacity.

The benefits of issuing a Statutory Demand: •

It is a relatively cost effective means of recovering what is due and owing to you.

It can achieve results in a timely manner.

It is simple to prepare and issue.

The risks of issuing a Statutory Demand: •

The debtor may apply to set it aside if they believe it has not been issued validly with the most likely reason being that they believe the debt is in substantial dispute. We mitigate this risk by making demand on the debtor company prior to the issuing of the Statutory Demand.

If the debtor company is eventually put into Liquidation after they have paid you under the Statutory Demand, the Liquidator may deem that the transaction was voidable and claw back the payment. The following would be considered when determining that a payment may be deemed voidable: •

Whether the creditor acted in good faith, and a reasonable person in their position would not have suspected the debtor company on reasonable grounds were insolvent.

The debtor company made the payment when they were unable to pay their due debts.

The payment made put you in a better position than you would have been in if the debtor company had been liquidated and the surplus distributed.

The payment was made within two years of the debtor company going into Liquidation.

Prior to issuing a Statutory Demand, we will fully discuss your options with you, to minimise any risk to you, and if we believe a Statutory Demand is not the best recommended way forward we will discuss your other debt recovery options that we can assist you with. Our Debt Recovery Team, which is part of our larger Litigation team, are ready to discuss your options with you with regard to your outstanding debt and will work with you to assist you with your debt recovery whether it be business debt, personal debt, large or small.

Michael Robinson

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First and most importantly, new recruits must fit into your company culture; being your values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviours as a group – NZ or worldwide. Are you part of a structured corporate environment or a fluid, fast-paced small team? Do you have a commercially focused, industry body or non-profit environment? What accountability, performance and stakeholder interaction styles do you practice? Are flexible work hours, at home days and casual attire part of your culture? Open discussion around these areas will help with knowing what environment your candidate prefers. Team dynamics are also vital. Typically, a well-functioning team will comprise people with a mixture of strengths and work preferences. There are organisers, planners, implementers, evaluators, problem solvers, administrators and critics. There is little efficiency in a team consisting of great ideas people working only with great planners. Some people have multiple strengths in these areas, others only one or two. It is best to evaluate where the strength gaps are inside your team before deciding which new recruit to engage. Very rarely do we find people who meet the exact experience parameters that match each role’s Position Description. Few people move from an existing role to an equivalent one in a different company. They aspire to a more senior role, to find a better personal role fit or to take on less responsibility as they age. To be successful, your candidate needs to have the appropriate transferrable skills. An example of this is with someone who aspires to step up to a team leadership position. What skills does a team leader require for this role? The list could include influencing ability, mentoring and coaching skills, problem resolution experience, expertise in forecasting and budget building, change management skills. Finding out what experience people have had in these areas, either in a non-work environment or separately during their career will help you assess whether they will be likely to succeed in

a position they have not yet held and in which areas they will need support if they are successful. Looking at past behaviours is an excellent way to help assess candidates. It is common sense that past behaviours are indicators of future behaviour.

The assessment process is often a stressful time for everyone involved. Your candidates will appreciate and respond to timely communication, honesty and relevant feedback. Successful or otherwise, they should feel they have engaged in a positive experience.

When we know how a person has managed a specific situation in the past, whether successfully or not, we will gain an understanding of how they will do so in the future. Each behavioural question should be asked in four parts, being “Give a specific example of a time when…?”, “How did you….?”, “What was the result of ….?” and “What did you learn, and how would you….?”. After we have assessed a candidate’s team fit potential, work experience, transferrable skills and past behaviours, it is important to check that our impressions are accurate. Psychometric assessments are valuable tools that add a further dimension to the recruitment process. They assess personality traits, team and leadership styles, likely behaviours and cognitive ability. These assessments are uncannily accurate and also relatively difficult for the candidate to fool. Reference checks can be the most unreliable part of your recruitment process. To minimise the risk of hearing incorrect things, it is important speak with the people who will give you the most relevant information. Don’t just accept the names of those listed; ask your candidate if they are comfortable with you ringing the people you see as most appropriate. Past line managers who can verify the achievements, position parameters and behaviours of the candidate are best. It is helpful to have a list of questions which will verify what you have assessed so far, including whether there have been any events which they as referees are unable to speak about.

By Deb Francis Article featured in Agribusiness Magazine | 15

Is This Discussion

“Off The Record”?

Off The Record?

“Brian,” the boss addresses him as he sits down at the boardroom table. “We need to have a chat about your future at XYZ Limited.” Brian’s face goes white. He imagined he’d have another 20 years left at XYZ. At least another five, until he had broken the back of his mortgage. Then he might look for other roles, new challenges. But his boss’s early-morning tone suggests that plan is heading for the recycle bin. “This isn’t easy,” Brian’s boss continues in solemn tones, “so can we agree that this discussion is off the record?” Brian wonders what his boss is asking. Is he suggesting this conversation can never be mentioned again? What if Brian wants to get legal advice? And what happens if Brian refuses to agree to keep this chat “off the record”? Will his boss dismiss him? He obviously wants to hear what his boss has to say. But how should he respond to his boss’s request?

16 |

WHAT’S THE BENEFIT? Why would Brian’s boss want to keep their chat under wraps? He wants to have a frank discussion with Brian about his performance. He wants to suggest to Brian that his future with the company is in jeopardy. Yes, he knows there is a proper process to follow to address Brian’s poor performance. But following the correct process will take time. It would be easier on everyone if Brian agreed to leave of his own accord. So he thinks that a frank chat with Brian, coupled with the right incentives, will persuade him to agree to leave. It’s risky, though. If Brian objects, he could point to such a discussion as the basis for resigning and claiming constructive dismissal. Yet, if the discussion can never be mentioned again, Brian couldn’t do that. If it is kept off the record – between just them two – his boss has nothing to fear. There’s no doubt that frank discussions about where an employment relationship is heading are useful. That’s why what is said at mediations is kept confidential. But can you claim this cloak of confidentiality by just declaring a discussion is “off the record”?

HOW “OFF THE RECORD” CHATS WORK Just telling someone, or demanding, that your conversation with them is “off the record” will not work. They must agree to keep the discussion confidential. That’s because it’s unfair for one person to impose confidentiality on someone else without their agreement. Such chats, also known as “without prejudice” discussions, cannot be referred to in court proceedings. Even though they may be damning evidence, the court won’t take notice of them. But a bare agreement between two people that their discussion is “off the record” is not enough either. In the employment context, for a discussion to be truly “off the record”, there must not only be agreement, but also: • a serious employment relationship problem that could give rise to litigation; and • the possibility that the litigation could be affected by something said during the discussion. In short, there doesn’t have to be a formal dispute, or a personal grievance raised. The fact that Brian’s boss has concerns about his performance may be enough. And if his boss is going to suggest he resigns, that is a statement that would be useful to Brian in proving constructive dismissal. So it is highly possible that Brian’s boss is right to think a frank conversation with Brian could be kept confidential. It hinges on Brian’s agreement to the request. Brian need not feel that he has to agree to the “off the record” chat with his boss. But if he doesn’t agree, he may never know what his boss is really thinking.

CONCLUSION Having an “off the record” discussion is a useful way to diffuse difficult employment relationship problems. But it has to be handled with care. Not every conversation labelled “off the record” is necessarily that. There must be an employment relationship problem, the possibility of litigation and agreement to keep the discussion confidential. Without those elements, whatever is said in the discussion may be cited in legal evidence. BY MARK DONOVAN | 17 | 17

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Wai to Kai Winter 2019  

Wai to Kai Winter 2019  

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