Horticulture Conference next week – registration still open

04 Jul 2017

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Once again, there is an excellent offering at the Horticulture Conference, giving both fruit and vegetable growers excellent networking opportunities, new ideas, and inspiring concepts for the future. Issues that concern growers most and our key priorities are covered; the Conference looks at biosecurity and the latest developments, with an up-to-date border report and the signing of the brown marmorated stink bug operational agreement between industry and the government.

For everyone who is involved in health and safety – and today that is everyone – there is a practical session working through what happens if you are investigated by WorkSafe. This is a summary of a real case and is presented by those in the company who were investigated. It offers valuable insights into what to do and not to do.

As with every conference, there is an international keynote speaker, and this is the first time American food and agribusiness guru Roland Fumasi will speak at a horticulture conference in New Zealand. Roland Fumasi is known worldwide for his work in Rabobank’s RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness group. He will address being market led, as he is a proponent of delivering exactly what consumers want – safe, consistent, high quality produce that is good value, but also has a light impact on the environment. He is a vice-president, senior analyst and manager for RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness group, headquartered in Fresno, California, where his responsibilities include covering and analysing the US and North American fresh fruit and vegetable industries, and general California agriculture. This will be an inspiring session giving insights into how we can continue to grow the value of our exports from New Zealand.

One of the issues facing growers is getting access to new compounds, biopesticides, and biocontrol agents to meet the ever challenging demands from the international retailers. Another issue is fresh produce safety and traceability. On both these key topics there are comprehensive sessions. In addition, there are seasons covering healthy eating, future disrupters, woman in horticulture, and the future of trade addressing issues with Brexit and the free trade agreements with the United Kingdom, the European Union and a Trans-Pacific Partnership without the US.

No conference would be complete without some bus trips. Thursday afternoon showcases the kiwifruit industry through plant breeding at the world’s leading breeding research station for kiwifruit, and the technological advances both in the packhouses and orchards. Friday afternoon is a special treat, with a trip to Jenkins Freshpac Systems, a Kiwi company with a tradition of innovative packing solutions and a service network throughout New Zealand and Australia, best known for their labels. The bus trip will visit their head office and factory in Tauranga, demonstrating Jenkins future focused technologies.

Finally, there are more than 30 trade displays, and the opportunity for some excellent networking.  You can view the programme on the conference website, and register here and, with so many reasons to attend, we hope to see you at the Horticulture Conference next week.

-       Mike Chapman, CEO