THE president of Griffith and District Citrus Growers has apologised for "sexist" comments made to the two female leaders of Citrus Australia (CA).
President Joe Pasin last month told the peak national citrus body's CEO Judith Damiani and chair Tania Chapman that women "shouldn't be allowed" on the new regional advisory committee.
The comments came when Mr Pasin was discussing nominations for the committee and have outraged local female citrus growers.
Mr Pasin admitted he made the statement, but said he was only referring to a few women in the area and not women in general.
"It was a spur of the moment comment when they (Ms Damiani and Ms Chapman) were asking whether I knew of any women that should be nominated," he said.
"At the time there were no women available to do the job around here. I was referring to certain women who made a mess of things before.
"If there are women who can fill the position, I've got no objection at all."
Ms Damiani said she was surprised by the comments and urged local women to apply for a position on the committee next time nominations are open.
"It does not matter what gender you are, we are just looking for the right skills," she said.
"The committee has two-year terms and at the end of the first term I imagine some people might decide to step aside and I would encourage everyone to apply."
While the comments have been seen as offensive by many local growers, Ms Damiani said she had put them out of her mind.
"We've (her and Ms Chapman) got thick skins," she said.
"We want to maintain a good relationship with Griffith growers and keep working together for the industry."
Mr Pasin apologised for the comments, but stood by his original implication that some people should not be allowed to serve on the new committee.
"It was not my intention at all (to offend women)," he said.
"If I have offended Tania and Judith I apologise to them.
"Some women are quite good, sensible and understanding and could fill the position and I wouldn't have any problem with that."
The committee met for the first time last Thursday in Leeton and appointed Ken McDougall as its chairman.
The committee is made up of seven regional growers John Sergi, John Quarisa, Joe Nardi, John Davidson, Ron Hutton, Ken McDougall and Dean Morris.