Opportunities abound in horticulture

03 Jul 2017


Horticulture is "on a bit of a roll" Prime Minister Bill English said last week, “with the kiwifruit and apple industries leading the charge and creating a bit of excitement for New Zealand's economy”. This is substantiated in two reports released last week. The first, from Waikato University, was on kiwifruit’s economic contribution and the second, by Coriolis, outlined the investment opportunities in horticulture.

Growth in the kiwifruit industry will exponentially increase horticultural exports – the University of Waikato report predicts that:

  • The employment contribution to New Zealand of the kiwifruit industry is expected to be an additional 29,000 FTE by 2030.
  • The kiwifruit industry contribution to New Zealand’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will increase from $2.6 billion in 2015-16 to $6.14 billion in 2030.

This report was a perfect lead in to the Coriolis report, which concluded New Zealand was ready for further investment in horticulture because of the world-wide consumer interest in healthy food, New Zealand growers being early-adopters of innovation and efficient operators, our ideal soils, and proximity to Asian markets.

The report notes that although horticultural growth in New Zealand is driven by kiwifruit and apples, impressive export growth for cherries, avocados and some vegetables (such as onions) is predicted. New Zealand is well placed to tap into consumer trends, including wanting healthy foods that promote wellness, demanding and being able to afford convenient and indulgent foods, and a strong consumer desires to source food grown in sustainable ways that are environmentally friendly. New Zealand horticulture delivers all of this and is predicted to continue to do so into the future.

As the Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges noted, the food and beverage sector is the cornerstone of the New Zealand economy. It employs directly or indirectly nearly one in five New Zealand workers and generates $29 billion in exports, representing over half of our merchandise export earnings.  Within that, New Zealand horticulture is making an ever increasing contribution.

-       Mike Chapman, CEO