The New Zealand commercial fruit and vegetable growing industry has set itself the goals of improving grower margins and doubling the farmgate value of horticultural production from $6bn to $12bn by 2030.
If our industry is to achieve these goals, it needs the support of the wider food and fibre sector, particularly as there are so many challenges and opportunities in common.
That is why horticulture is right behind the Fit for a Better World goals and is backing the government’s initiative. In particular, we are keen for the initiative to find a way through the current regulatory change environment, which if left unchecked, will be a handbrake on our industry meeting its goals.’
To meet our goals, we need to find ways to increase production while reducing environmental impact. This will require significant investment in research and development, followed by a similarly high level of investment in implementation and outreach.
Over the past decade, New Zealand horticulture has achieved significant growth. But over that period of time, the world has changed and that change has been accelerated by Covid. Today’s consumers want it all – nutritious, great tasting food that has been produced sustainability, with respect for the environment as well as the people that have grown it and got it on the plate, so to speak.
New Zealand’s brand has exceptional value. However, that value could be eroded if we do not focus and invest now in the future of food production in our country. But we are a small country, with limited human and financial resources. That is why we must work together as a food and fibre sector, to leverage our advantages and find innovation ways to deal with our challenges, around climate change, emission reduction, freshwater quality and water storage, labour availability and our distance to market.
Everyone involved in the food and fibre sector has a passion for what they produce and takes pride in being part of a sector so vital for New Zealand’s wellbeing and economic viability. I firmly believe that by working in partnership, the groups involved in Fit for a Better World will find the solutions we need as we look to 2030.
Demand for healthy, great tasting, sustainably grown New Zealand food places us well for global success. Key will be industry lead, Government enabled initiatives.
Let us all work together to make sure New Zealand’s food and fibre sector takes a large slice of the pie that is worldwide demand for what we do best – grow and produce sustainability, with respect for the environment and all the people involved in production.
Nadine Tunley is chief executive of Horticulture New Zealand — Ahumāra Kai Aotearoa (HortNZ).