Innovative products for specific needs

Written by Richard Loader

Research and development is all about the future, says Grochem’s managing director George McHardy.

“If you don’t have new products coming through you end up becoming a generic player. Our focus has been on niche, safe soft chemistry that’s more environmentally friendly and sustainable. There’s a strong biological and organic focus to what we do. We also outsource a lot of trial work with independent providers to prove our product in the paddock.”

George explains that because 90% of what New Zealand produces is exported, whatever Grochem produces and supplies must be fit for where ever that produce is destined for.

“A lot of apples will end up in Asia, Europe or the US and we have to ensure anything we supply to the apple industry fits in with wher- ever the product is going to. That’s why quality control is paramount in what we do.”

Proud to be Kiwi owned and operated, over the last 27 years Grochem has evolved to become the leading supplier of innovative, sustainable options for growers—including plant nutrition, insecticide, fungicides and plant growth regulators.

Grochem’s laboratory, manufacturing fa- cilities and head office is based in Porirua, pro- viding close proximity to the state highway for northbound transport and access to Welling- ton port for South Island and export dispatch.

“Being local we can develop and manufacture product for our customers within a very short time frame and we can make decisions quickly.

“As long as we have the raw materials here we can manufacture specific products for a client overnight or within day or two. Many of our competitors are importing finished goods from around the globe that have major lead times and/or products that are bulky in nature.”

Predominantly a horticulture based company, Grochem’s biggest region is Hawke’s Bay, but also operates throughout all of the main growing regions in New Zealand.

“The products we develop and manufacture are specific for local conditions and that gives us a point of difference. We have products that are more specific to soil conditions in Hawke’s Bay, for example, versus somewhere else.

“We also represent 14 multi-national partners with unique or novel products.

“We have an organic boron product from an Argentinian mine, which is used on arable brassica crops here and in Australia. We’re the largest organic input providers within the commercial sector in New Zealand.”

Along with a small office in Hawke’s Bay, Grochem’s strong technical team is located in the country’s key growing areas to meet with local growers and large grower corporates and help train local distribution staff.

“All our products are distributed through businesses like Wrightsons / Fruitfed Supplies, Farmlands and the Horticentre Group.

“They have technical specialists who go out and service the customer and growers in the paddock.

“A lot of our ideas for new products will come from a grower who sees an opportunity or has a problem growing a certain crop.”

In 2017 Grochem won the Deloitte Fast 50 Fastest Growth in Agribusiness for the Lower North Island and Wellington Region.

Published in the Business Central magazine.