The hunt has begun to find the best young fruit growers in the Bay of Plenty.

Applications are now being accepted to compete in the 2019 BOP Young Fruit Grower competition.

Under 30s who have been employed fulltime in the fruit industry for at least three years are encouraged to enter.

Chair of the Bay of Plenty Young Fruit Growers Upskilling Committee Andrew Dawson said the horticulture industry needed young talent to ensure that it could continue to grow.

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"The Young Fruit Grower competitions not only promote the talent that already exists in horticulture, but also retains, develops and builds that talent," Dawson said.

He said avocados and kiwifruit were booming industries. Net sales of both crops had increased substantially over the past 10 years and were expected to continue.

Talented people with scientific, commercial and technical backgrounds would be required if this growth was to be met.

The 2019 Bay of Plenty Young Fruit Grower gala dinner on February 13 next year will follow the competition day held on February 9 at the Te Puke A&P Show.

Madeleine Sami. Photo / Supplied
Madeleine Sami. Photo / Supplied

MC for the evening will be the renowned comedian and actress Madeleine Sami.

NZKGI chief executive Nikki Johnson said the gala dinner had proven to be both an entertaining evening and an insight into the industry's talent

"It's great to have competitions such as the BOP Young Fruit Grower Competition, not only to showcase the industry's talented future leaders but also support the development and growth of skilled personnel in the horticulture industry," Johnson said.

For contestant application forms and Gala Dinner tickets, visit: www.bopyoungfruitgrower.co.nz

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The facts

• Contestant applications close 21 December, 2018

• Gala Dinner tickets now on sale

• MC will be comedian and actress Madeleine Sami