Hundreds of seasonal workers will miss out on jobs as New Zealand’s two largest boysenberry growers call it quits.
Ranzau Horticulture and Berry Fields, in Nelson, are shutting down because of damaged crops from bad weather and the high New Zealand dollar hurting export markets in Europe and the United States.
Graham Battersby of Ranzau, the world’s single largest boysenberry grower, told Fairfax the company had been making a loss for the past four years.
“You can sell the product at a good price, but once you convert it back to New Zealand dollars the returns are just not there.”
Ranzau opened 28 years ago and has 63 hectares of boysenberry vines.
Poor weather, including flooding in December, and an outbreak of botrytis had been factors in the loss of almost half of this year’s crops.
About 115 seasonal roles will no longer be filled with the company and two permanent and two casual staff will lose their jobs.
Alan Field of Berry Fields, which has 40ha of vines, said he felt “very sad” the company would be shutting down.
“It was number four of a run of four bad seasons.
“This season started off with the vines being damaged by strong winds and everything turned to custard from there.”
Mr Field has been running the business with his brothers Philip and Peter for the past 37 years.
The company usually hired about 135 seasonal staff and has three full-time employees.
Both Mr Battersby and Mr Field said they thought the New Zealand boysenberry industry would improve.