Sanford was last night awarded the Marlborough Award in recognition for its leading role in the marine farming sector and the notable difference it makes to life, welfare and the economy of the district.
“We are incredibly proud of the team and of our hard work being recognised,” CEO Volker Kuntzsch said.
“There are not many areas globally that provide the shelter and water quality of the Marlborough Sounds, and we are committed to creating a strong future for the region through our sustainable marine farming.”
Kuntzsch said an increasing worldwide demand for protein provides an opportunity for New Zealand to focus not on ever increasing volumes, but on value.
“With significantly increasing demand for protein, it is essential we understand our obligation to contribute our share to global supply. Doing this within the context of stricter environmental standards will be a challenge, but certainly not one we feel can’t be overcome,” Kuntzsch said.
“We need to realise we are only a small player globally, and for that reason we need to focus on value. Our brand will increasingly be associated with provenance and the story we can tell about the origin of the product and the special care taken to farm it, harvest it and process it for discerning customers,” Kuntzsch said.
Aquaculture now makes up almost half of Sanford’s business, they are the largest holder of marine farm licenses in Marlborough with a dozen boats in the water and three hundred people employed in marine farms or in the factory.
“The combination of farming and processing enables us to keep the plant open all year round and is what makes us such a strong and stable business for Marlborough,” Kuntzsch said.
Sanford’s General Manager Processing, Ted Culley, said the award was the result of the dedication and hard work of the farming and processing teams.
“Every day out on the water our farming team represents Sanford’s values of passion, caring and integrity. The future holds great opportunities for the mussel industry in Marlborough, we are proud of this community and look forward to playing our part in its future”, Culley said.
Marlborough Mayor Alistair Sowman said Sanford was a big player in the region’s export economy and key contributor to the advances made in marine farming innovation.
“Havelock thrives because of the presence of Sanford’s factory; it’s factory in Havelock is the heart of mussel processing and hundreds of people rely on the company for work,” Sowman said.
Introduced in 1990 by the Marlborough District Council to publically acknowledge individuals or businesses which contribute jobs and economic value, the Marlborough Award also highlights innovation and entrepreneurship.