More than 50 people are finding more about how to manage vegetable growing in Pukekohe in a changing regulatory environment, thanks to Horticulture New Zealand, Vegetables New Zealand, Potatoes New Zealand, Onions New Zealand and the Pukekohe Vegetable Growers’ Association.
‘Growers, their advisers, fertiliser companies, and Auckland Council attended our first workshop,’ says Horticulture New Zealand Sustainability and Extension Manager, Ailsa Robertson.
‘It’s great to get everyone in the same room as a step towards getting everyone on the same page. Our thanks to Pukekohe Vegetable Growers’ Association Acting President, Kylie Faulkner for helping get the workshops off the ground.
‘What the horticulture industry needs is evidence of its good management of the land and water as we advocate for fair and reasonable rules for vegetable growing across New Zealand.
‘That is where Farm Environment Plans come in, audited under the New Zealand Good Agricultural Practice (NZGAP) Environmental Management System (EMS)*.
‘Auckland Council is very supportive of this approach. They say that they would much rather work alongside industries like horticulture around land and water management, than sit in plan change hearings for months.
‘Auckland Council is also getting closer to being able to predict the impact of good management practice on water quality.
‘This is an important development. For horticulture, being able to show the impact of good management practices is critical to being able to continue to grow sustainably and profitably, and feed New Zealand.’
Kylie says it was good to see such a great turnout at the first workshop.
‘While demonstrating good management practice might feel daunting for some, I feel the NZGAP EMS approach will really help growers through the process and support us all on the journey.’
The next workshop – on farm mapping and soil control – will be in February 2020.
*The NZGAP EMS is for growers who want to manage requirements for Farm Environment Plans alongside their usual NZGAP audit. The EMS covers nutrient, soil, irrigation and water body management.