COVID uncertainty is here to stay for some time, but fruit and vegetable growers want to turn that uncertainty into a plan for the future. Hort NZ CEO Mike Chapman says fruit, vegetable and wine harvests need 40,000 workers to get their products to market and in pre-COVID years, about half of these workers came from offshore. With the borders effectively closed, those offshore workers are no longer available. Mike Chapman says there are enormous opportunities for New Zealanders who have lost their jobs due to COVID and the horticulture sector is actively working to place Kiwis in work. Often the jobs are tailored to accommodate the needs of the worker such as parents with kids at school and people with disabilities. He says the government needs to give growers assurance.