Mansfield Farms, Paul Mansfield
Paul is now the owner of over 15 fruit farms in the Canterbury area, totalling over 1,200 hectares of top-fruit, and he is probably already one of the largest independent fruit growers in the UK. The farms originated as almost a hobby offshoot of the family’s retail fruit business, with a small 12 hectare orchard (small-holding), bought in the 1960s, partly as a storage area for pallet boxes!
Mansfields now markets most of its top-fruit through World Wide Fruit, a very large multinational fruit marketing co-operative which developed from the major New Zealand, UK and Belgian fruit marketing companies. The Southern hemisphere component allows the marketing operation to function 12 months of the year. Paul is also one of the five directors of WWF: 2 New Zealanders, 2 British and 1 Belgian, and WWF’s UK office has now moved onto Paul’s main farm.
The packing and storage aspects of Mansfields are one of the keys to the overall success of the company. The firm employs over 150 permanent staff, rising to over 1,000 people including European and British casual staff at the height of the picking and marketing season. Bulgarian students are very highly commended in general for their hard work and reliability, arriving mainly through the HOPS scheme. The workforce is an essential factor in the company’s pursuit of quality, and a “commitment to excellence” and “pride in their work” is vital for each and every individual. This is where the company demonstrates its social sustainability. Even further expansion of the packhouse and cold storage facilities is planned for 2004 – 2005.