Horticulture's rapid export growth reliant on sound trade policy

24 Mar 2017

Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman says to continue its rapid growth, horticulture needs good trade policy, and he welcomes today’s announcement from the Government enabling that.

“Horticulture is the primary industries’ quiet achiever – expanding, growing and meeting global consumer demands for safe, high-quality, healthy food. We have an important domestic market, but that is not growing at the same rate as exports. Today, horticulture exports (fruit and vegetables) total $3.4 billion,” Mike Chapman says.

“Exports increased by 40 percent from June 2014 to 2016 and this rapid growth shows no signs of slowing down. For horticulture to continue to play a valuable role in the New Zealand economy we need Free Trade Agreements that deliver quarantine market access and address non-tariff barriers.

“New Zealand is totally dependent on trading what we grow and make, so a tightening of the freedom to trade between nations will directly affect our prosperity. Our trade policy needs to develop in accordance with sometimes unexpected global changes such as the UK leaving the European Union, as well as protectionist measures developing in some markets. We would like to see Free Trade Agreements with the United Kingdom, European Union, Japan and the United States.

“Kiwifruit and apples have been the horticulture export stars but we are seeing growth in avocados, potatoes, onions, cherries and passionfruit as well. Horticulture is now a $5.4 billion industry, but for us to continue to grow, we need market access and help for small to medium sized businesses (SMEs).

“The established exporters have been well served by government but it is now time to focus on the emerging and SME exporters to translate ‘market access to market success’ and we look forward to working with the Government,  New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Ministry for Primary Industries to help these businesses.”