Growers Propel Apata to Top Spot
On the back of a bumper season, Apata Group Limited is claiming its customers are the secret to its success.
Last year was one of the busiest ever for the Bay of Plenty coolstore and packing company. It is currently the largest packer of organic kiwifruit in New Zealand and has been the country’s largest avocado harvester and packer for years.
“More importantly, our orchard gate returns – the amount our growers are paid - were among the industry’s best,” says Apata managing director Stuart Weston. “That’s especially true for green and organic kiwifruit.”
Mr Weston says these results are due largely to their customers’ top-notch orchard management and commitment to quality.
“Basically, our growers are making us look good. So it’s only fair we start the new year off properly, with a sincere and hearty thank you to them.”
Of course, he admits, his company is playing its part, too.
“The vast majority of our growers have been with us for years because they know their fruit receives kid glove treatment at Apata. We care about quality as much as they do.”
He says Apata has two of the avocado industry’s largest and most technically-advanced packing operations. Recently-formed marketing partnerships are also forging lucrative new export markets.
Both kiwifruit and avocado growers benefit from on-site laboratory services, grower support and technical advice, orchard management options and expertise in storage and shipping.
“We’re leading the pack because we constantly strive to provide the best possible service. We’re not interested in being the biggest or the loudest but we’re determined to do the very best job we can.”
Mr Weston says this is why the Bay of Plenty facilities attract growers from Northland, Waikato, Hawkes Bay, Wanganui and Manawatu as well as locals.
Apata hosts regular field days and information forums that encourage debate and collaboration with fellow growers and industry exports.
And each supplying grower is allocated a dedicated grower services representative.
“This helps us listen to growers, represent their interests and recommend services or technical solutions if required. It’s the least we can do for our customers and of course we want them to continue putting great quality fruit in our hands.”