Sampling and Maturity Clearance Testing – Service Provider Update
After a three month procurement process to identify and select sampling and maturity clearance testing service providers Zespri has entered final contract negotiations with selected parties. This follows Zespri Board approval this week.
This process has been extensive and involved expressions of interest from potential service providers, with a select group providing detailed proposals for the services. There was significant interest in the expression of interest which has been followed by a rigorous selection process.
The assessment of proposals considered a wide range of factors, including ability to provide the services, relevant experience, and price of the services. Independence of service providers from postharvest and/or grower interests was also considered, and weighed against the experience and start-up or scale-up risk of each potential service provider.
The service provider model that has been selected includes multiple service providers to mitigate risk to service delivery.
Service providers have been selected in a number of the major growing regions, with multiple service providers selected within the Bay of Plenty region. Service delivery for 2021 season, particularly for any potential providers with limited or no sampling and maturity testing experience and resources, was considered a major risk. The service providers selected for both sampling and maturity clearance testing include a combination of independent and postharvest-owned companies.
A range of independence commitments are being negotiated with the postharvest owned companies to address concerns from industry around the need for independence, including checks and balances. Once contracts with service providers are finalised, a communication about the service providers for each region will be released, which will include the required checks and balances.
It is intended negotiations will be finalised by the end of September or early October, with an announcement to follow.