LABOUR RESOURCES, EDUCATION AND MANAGEMENT SKILLS
Before looking ahead it is necessary to consider some of the pertinent facts of the present situation in broad terms.
There is a highly competitive world fruit trade both in the fresh and processed form.
Escalating costs are affecting profitability particularly labour, transport and fuel and capital costs for land, machinery and buildings are becoming prohibitive.
In many countries orchards are ageing with outdating varieties and old production systems. Orchards have often been planted in marginal climatic and soil conditions.
A social nucleus of fruit producers exists in districts or small centres. Many of these groups are holding rigidly against change and coordinating to influence industry politics. At the same time the drift of population from a rural to an urban situation is affecting the viability and life style of the small country centres.
Fruitgrowers remain predominantly individualistic, running mainly a "family" orchard using family labour apart from a few permanent employees and casual harvesting labour.
Fruitgrowers are mainly immobile and spend their working life on the property. They tend to resist change and become threatened by new growers using modern techniques and machinery on a more extensive scale.
Older orchardists often have little secondary education but are very strong in experience and husbandry expertise. They are generally weak in management knowledge and skills and inefficient at paper work.
Sons and younger growers continue to enter fruitgrowing being attracted back to the "way-of-life" after a period away from home gaining some form of tertiary education. Inheritance or gifting often allows them to take over the family farm but they are often faced with a renewal programme to make the property viable.
Fruit producers tend to be still very much production orientated producing what they think is right and hoping that it can be sold for a price which will retain viability of the property.
Fruit is produced with little long term planning, with seldom any long term contracts for the produce and with little thought for replacement strategies.
These are generalizations unsupported by factual documentation and as such are open to arguement. Everyone associated with the fruit industry can sight exceptions. Change is certainly taking place but where will it lead to and what are the objectives? To provide further background, each of the subject areas of labour resources, management