Tuesday, April 23, 2024

New horticulture strategy eyes $12b exports target

A new Government and industry strategy launched today has its sights set on growing the value of New Zealand’s horticultural production to $12 billion by 2035.

“Our food and fibre exports are vital to New Zealand’s economic security. We’re focussed on long-term strategies that build on the year-on-year record revenue earned by our farmers and growers,” Agriculture Minister, Damien O’Connor said.

Since 2017, primary sector export revenue has grown by 39% to a record $53 billion last year, with horticulture contributing $6.7 billion. In 2023, horticulture exports are expected to top a record $7.1 billion, the Minister said.

“By accelerating growth and sustainability in our horticulture sector we can support businesses to grow, create new jobs, lift exports and provide greater domestic food supply,” he said.

“The new Horticulture – Growing Together 2035 – Aotearoa Horticulture Action Plan Strategy set outs the pathway to achieve what is an ambitious and achievable goal.

“Consumers here and around the world continue to demand high quality and nutritious fresh fruit and vegetables to boost their wellbeing. Food security is a growing issue globally and we want to ensure New Zealanders have access to affordable food.

“New Zealand has worked hard to build an excellent brand for quality. We’re fortunate to have one of the best climates and some of the most fertile soil in the world providing the right foundations to grow world-class produce,” Mr O’Connor said.

He said the Growing Together 2035 Strategy’s vision was that ‘Aotearoa New Zealand is synonymous with world-leading healthy produce, which is grown with care for people and place, and is enjoyed by consumers around the world.’

“The Horticulture Strategy sets bold outcomes and actions to maximise value, boost sustainability, increase Māori participation in high value horticulture, and attract and retain the right people,” the Minister said.

The Strategy focuses on five outcomes:

  • Grow sustainably
  • Optimise value
  • Māori are strong in horticulture
  • Action underpinned by science and knowledge
  • Nurture people.

Associate Minister of Agriculture, Meka Whaitiri said the Strategy will further realise the potential of Māori horticulture and deliver economic opportunities.

“Māori are kaitiaki of their whenua, landowners, business owners and leaders in their communities. The Horticulture Action Plan will support an approach to horticulture for Māori, led by Māori and Rautaki mo te Taurikura – Embracing change for prosperity, a detailed plan launched in late 2022,” Ms Whaitiri said.

Horticulture New Zealand Chief Executive, Nadine Tunley said the Strategy deliberately focuses on outcomes and actions across the value chain where partners can collaborate to generate the most benefits.

“The Plan’s outcomes are supported by a series of actions that will work together to grow the overall sustainability and value of Aotearoa’s horticulture sector,” Ms Tunley said.

“The actions range from identifying energy-intensive areas of the horticulture value chain and supporting conversion to systems that reduce greenhouse gas emissions; to improving crop management and protection, developing pathways to increase Māori participation, increasing capability; and better understanding consumer needs and channels to market.

“Development of the action plan was a collaborative effort between industry, government, science and Māori, recognising that to be successful, we need to work together to make significant and enduring change,” she said.

In 2023, the action plan is set to be driven forward by a dedicated programme manager who will find opportunities to existing work and bring partners together to develop new projects.

Minister O’Connor said the Growing Together 2035 Strategy aligns with the Government and sector roadmap, Fit for a Better World and the National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land, and builds on the sector’s Horticulture Post-COVID Recovery Strategy.

“We have the plan, we have the ambition, and we have the support and expertise to ensure the long-term success of our growers, rural communities, and New Zealand’s economy,” he said.

The Growing Together 2035 – Aotearoa Horticulture Action Plan Strategy is available here.

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