Horticulture New Zealand has made clear to the Government in its submission on freshwater management that it is critical that New Zealand can grow enough fresh vegetables and fruit to feed itself, now and in the future.
‘Our industry is right behind moves to improve freshwater quality in New Zealand,’ says HortNZ Chief Executive, Mike Chapman.
‘At the same time, our industry must be supported to grow enough fresh and healthy vegetables and fruit to feed New Zealanders and support their wellbeing, now and in the future.
‘In our submission, we have said that audited Farm Management Plans are the best way to go to ensure that vegetable and fruit growers are following good practice, and minimising their environmental impact.
‘Also, that there should be no limitation on changing land use to horticulture, provided this is done under independently audited Farm Environment Plans.
‘Growers know how to manage their land and water resources for successive generations. Let the growers apply their expertise and hold them accountable through independently audited Farm Environment Plans.’
In its submission, HortNZ pointed out that irrigation is necessary to grow vegetables and fruit commercially.
‘New precision irrigation techniques control nutrient application and limit leaching,’ says Mike. ‘That is why we have said in our submission that the 10 hectare limitation for the use of irrigation should be removed for low impact horticulture.
‘We also point out that crop rotation is necessary to produce healthy vegetables. That is why growers should be allowed to swap the same amount of land into vegetables and back again.’
Lastly, Mike says the timeframes under the Government’s current proposals do not give growers enough time to develop quality Farm Environment Plans.
‘For catchments that are deemed sensitive, we support the 2022 timeframe, but for all other catchments the target should be 2025. A staged approach would also help with the fact that currently, there are not enough suitably qualified consultants available to assist growers with Farm Environment Plan development.’
To read HortNZ’s full submission, click here.