A century of growth, and more to come

19 Dec 2016

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Figures released last week by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) show that horticulture has grown by 4.2% over the past year, with an export value of just under $5 billion. In the next four years this is expected to grow by at least another $1.3 billion. This growth means horticulture is challenging forestry’s spot as the third largest export out of New Zealand. Kiwifruit leads the growth, with exports predicted to top $2 billion. Apples are close behind ,with exports predicted to top $ 1 billion. But other parts of horticulture are also growing rapidly with onions - particularly red onions, avocadoes, passionfruit, cherries, blueberries and other berry exports all in significant growth mode. Potatoes are also maintaining their export and domestic supply levels. This makes reaching the industry’s target of $10 billion by 2020 for both exports and domestic supply attainable.

This growth is made possible in part by the industry-good organisations that support the commercial growers. Our job is to create the financial, social, environmental, business, orchard, garden and farm environment where our growers can prosper. One hundred years ago the Fruitgrowers Federation was formed to do this.  Horticulture New Zealand continues the work started by the Federation after it was amalgamated into Horticulture New Zealand in 2005.  Today, as indeed over the past 100 years, if growers do not have a voice in the seat of political power, then their needs are not catered for and growers ability to contribute to New Zealand’s financial, rural, cultural and social well-being and to sustain the environment is greatly diminished. Many of New Zealand’s horticulture families have been growing fruit and vegetables for more than 100 years nurturing their soils and the environment for the long term good of the land.

As an industry, we move into 2017 building on the solid and sustainable base of the past, ready to expand and contribute to the future of New Zealand. In fact, horticulture has been tipped to be New Zealand’s number one primary industries export within a generation, bumping dairy from that spot.

- Mike Chapman, CEO