HortNZ Chief Executive Mike Chapman and Minister for Agriculture Damien O'Connor at the launch in Nelson. Photo: Summerfruit New Zealand.
Horticulture to spearhead New Zealand’s post-Covid recovery
All parts of New Zealand’s diverse horticulture sector have worked with key government departments to develop an industry-led, government-enabled strategy that will ensure horticulture spearheads New Zealand’s post-Covid recovery.
‘During lockdown, horticulture worked closely with government to ensure that the industry could keep growing and harvesting so that New Zealanders and overseas customers could continue to buy fresh vegetables and fruit,’ says Horticulture New Zealand Chief Executive, Mike Chapman.
‘The success of this new level of cooperation led to the conclusion that it would be great if we all continued to work together to develop a strategy combining industry and government expertise to ensure that horticulture is able to maximise its contribution to New Zealand’s post-Covid recovery, as part of the Government’s strategy for the food and fibre sector, Fit for a Better World.
‘The outcome we are all looking for is growth, jobs and regional economic prosperity, within the context of the broader recovery.’
New Zealand Apples and Pears Chief Executive, Alan Pollard says horticulture is well-placed in New Zealand and globally to lead the recovery.
‘Our produce is recognised and trusted domestically and around the world for quality, freshness and safety, and we are global leaders in environmental, social and cultural sustainability.
‘Horticulture has embraced this responsibility and, with our partners in the Ministry for Primary Industries, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Provincial Growth Fund, has developed a plan to support New Zealand’s post-Covid recovery.’
The strategy covers trade and market access; labour, capability and skills; climate change and natural resources; improved and sustainable production systems; telling the horticulture story; partnership with Maori; technology and innovation; diversity; big data and removing barriers to growth and success.
New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated Chief Executive, Nikki Johnson says the horticulture sector looks forward to increasing its collaboration with the Government, to support the industry and wider economy through areas such as employment.
‘The recruitment of Education and Labour Coordinators is an example of our sector and the Government working in partnership to support horticulture and the communities in which it is based. The ability to employ New Zealanders is a win-win for our industry and the kiwis we employ.’
New Zealand Avocado Chief Executive, Jen Scoular says the horticulture industry and government are now concentrating on a series of workstreams that will determine how the outcomes will be delivered and what is needed to support this.
‘I am excited by the potential of this new level of industry-government collaboration. This strategy recognises the opportunity to create sustainable value by working together as we grow, transport and market our safe, ethically-produced and healthy food to consumers in New Zealand and around the world.’
Vegetables New Zealand Chief Executive, Antony Heywood says there is a wealth of expertise in the horticulture industry that is often compromised by a lack of government insight into and understanding of the industry.
‘That’s why I am so positive about this strategy. It will improve communication and provide a mechanism for horticulture and government to work together to address the challenges that would otherwise hold our industry back, especially during the post-Covid recovery.’
The New Zealand horticulture industry employs 60,000 people and is worth a total of $6.39 billion. The industry exports to 130 different countries and these exports are worth $4.2 billion.
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