Horticulture supports action plan for water quality

05 Jun 2018

With the communication tools available today, consumers are able to access information about the origin of their food and make buying decisions based on how food producers show responsible and sustainable farming practices, Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman says.

“It is important for our fruit and vegetable growers to show they are using best practice when managing their properties and that they are offering healthy food,” Chapman says.

“So we support today’s launch of the Good Farming Practice Action Plan for Water Quality, on World Environment Day.

“It is essential that all of the primary sector works with regional councils and central Government to get environmental management right and we are committed to sound, consistent water policy to maintain and improve our waterways.

“Horticulture is focused on meeting consumer expectations and demonstrating good grower practices through the Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) schemes, including NZGAP, as highlighted in the successful initiatives in the action plan released today.

“GAP schemes promote the safe and sustainable production of fruit and vegetables in New Zealand and the proof of that comes with certification, which is necessary for supplying many domestic and overseas markets.

“Just under 90 percent of New Zealand’s commercial scale growers are certified to one of three GAP schemes.

“Horticulture New Zealand also offers growers a lot of good management practice on our website, including erosion and sediment control guidelines and a Code of Practice for Nutrient Management.

“Many of our growers are inter-generational family businesses with a lot of collective knowledge about cropping systems and the environment. Their vested interest is the next generation coming through their own businesses. We illustrate this in this video Our Environment Story that talks about how growers care for the environment.

“Growers invest a lot in protecting waterways with riparian planting and sediment traps, but it is worth noting that a significant amount of sediment is generated during roading and urban subdivision. Urban expansion and changes to urban development will have water quality implications, so this is not just an issue for food producers.

“We all need to work together to achieve the best outcomes and progress on that has been made with today’s announcement by the Environment Minister David Parker and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.”

Mike Chapman is on the Good Farming Practice Governance Group that developed the Good Farming Practice Action Plan for Water Quality.