Move over dairy, horticulture is advancing

03 Feb 2017

kiwifruit vine and leaf blog

Horticulture is expanding and growing through exports. Today, 60% of what we grow in New Zealand is exported. Data shows that horticulture exports increased by 40% from June 2014 to 2016; this rapid growth shows no signs of slowing down, and horticulture will continue to play a valuable role in the New Zealand economy.

Our rapid growth is reflected in the price of land. Earlier this year, a top Hawke’s Bay 66.47 hectare orchard sold for $37.95 million, matching premium sales in the Bay of Plenty where orchards have been selling for more than $750,000 per canopy hectare. This is an increase of around $200,000 from a year ago, and $300,000 from two years ago. 

The real measure of the value of horticulture is what growers and investors are prepared to pay for land. At present, it seems, they’re willing to pay top dollar.

But it is not only the high profile kiwifruit and apple orchards that are selling for high prices; there are many opportunities for growers across a range of crops, both fruit and vegetables. Although not a lot of New Zealand is suitable for growing premium fruit and vegetables, there are opportunities for development that may, in the coming years, see New Zealand’s reliance on our traditional primary exports start to diminish. 

This has implications for the policy makers in local, regional and central Government, along with the agencies that support exports. A broader focus will be progressively required to recognise the diversity of the primary sector and to accommodate in policy and growth strategies the growth and strength of horticulture. 

So move over dairy, because horticulture is coming up fast in your rear view mirror.


- Mike Chapman, CEO