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23 October 1996
Orchardists should insure themselves against natural hazards and not rely on government to lend a helping hand if a disaster strikes.
Insurance companies are currently circulating pipfruit hail insurance applications to growers, and although not advocating growers rush to buy insurance, MAF policy agent Lou Bird said it was the growers responsibility to protect their business from devastating hazards.
Mr Bird recommends orchardists assess their ability to withstand a crop loss for one year and then decide whether insurance should be sought. “Risk mitigation is about hedging bets so that if things go wrong, the whole kit and caboodle doesn’t come crashing down around your ears.
“It doesn’t take long for memories of the effects of climatic disaster to fade. The reduction in pipfruit returns for the last two seasons, coupled with changes in the way the export side of the industry operates has most growers experiencing some degree of operational cashflow stress,” he said.
The most serious threat to orchard crops were climatic factors beyond a growers control such as flood, hail, frost and windstorms.
Current government policy is that no assistance will be given where an event is insurable and is not a Civil Defence Emergency. Because hail is a natural disaster which is insurable, the government has sent a clear message to pipfruit growers that they must manage the risk themselves. It was unlikely, Mr Bird said that the relief measures extended to the industry following the 1994 Hasting hailstorm would be repeated if such an event occurred tomorrow.
For further information contact:
Lou Bird, MAF Policy, Hastings
Phone: 06 8707247
Fax: 06 8707568