Industry considers California kiwifruit order changes

11/20/2009 07:21:11 AM
Don Schrack

If the referendum is in 2010, each amendment must receive support from two-thirds of the votes of growers casting ballots — or from growers representing two-thirds of the kiwifruit grown — to go into effect.

The changes were the subject of several public meetings in the past year.

“I’m not aware of any widespread discontent about the proposed rules,” Phillips said. “They’ve been talked about for a long time.”

Some changes in place

Madera-based Western Fresh Marketing Services Inc. is among the state’s largest marketers of kiwifruit. The proposed amendments “really won’t have a direct impact on us,” said George Kragie, Western Fresh president.

Kragie is not pleased, however, with another administrative committee rule that went into effect Nov. 17.

The rule requires handlers who ship 100,000 or more trays per season to file with the committee weekly shipment and price information. Western Fresh will market this year about 2.4 million tray-equivalents, Kragie said.

“It appears the committee is using a backdoor to get individual information from shippers,” he said. “That’s proprietary information that could give our kiwi brethren across the water an opportunity to ship when they see U.S. prices are up.”

Smaller grower-shippers also could benefit from the information, Kragie said.

His view is not shared by all grower-shippers. The weekly reports from individual growers and handlers will be kept confidential, Phillips said, but will provide pricing information not previously available.

“We’ll get more than standard inventory and shipment data,” he said. “Our marketing people will get a little better look at prices.”


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