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He urged young people in the industry to think about entering the competition, which would be held at the Otago Polytechnic's campus at Bannockburn on May 24.
He hoped there would be at least five competitors and would like to see eight or more taking part.
''When we first started out four years ago, we were told there were no young people [who worked in orchards] to enter the competitions,'' he said.
''We are now in our fourth year, which is pretty good.''
Each competition included modules relating to industry-related topics, ranging from health and safety and first aid, to pruning, spray, pests and diseases, irrigation and vehicles.
He said by preparing for the competition, contestants became more confidence in what they did during their work.
It is a means to develop their proficiency in their chosen field.
''They also need to step up and do a speech and often that is the thing that puts people off [entering],'' he said.
''As soon as you mention a speech, that is probably the biggest hurdle.
''A lot say they are not ready.''
Hamish Darling, of the Moorpark and Mulberry Orchard, near Lowburn, won the regional competition last year and placed third in the national event.
Entrants must be working full time in the fruit industry or be closely associated with it, and must be 30 years of age or under on December 31, 2019.
They must also have completed three years practical work experience in the fruit industry.
The winner of the Central Otago competition will go forward to the Young Grower of the Year competition in Bay Park, Mt Maunganui, October 1 and 2.
If they win that, they go forward to the AGMARDT Market Innovation Project and the Young Horticulturist of the Year competition in November.
Entries to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 1.