Innovative horticulture - buying New Zealand grown
Innovation was front and centre at the citrus growers’ conference and AGM in Gisborne yesterday. Growing the best orange or mandarin is not enough in today’s world. To sell what you grow, and earn a decent return for your fruit, the message is that you need to innovate. And this is exactly what our New Zealand citrus growers are doing: innovating.
To make your mark, you need to work out what New Zealand consumers will respond to. From the marketing work done by the citrus growers, New Zealand consumers want to buy New Zealand-grown produce. They want to buy New Zealand oranges. They want fresh and tasty fruit. And this is exactly what they are getting through two programmes run by their grower association.
The first, is a voluntary programme that makes sure fruit is only harvested when it is at is best: mature and ready to eat. This season, the programme was extraordinarily successful, ensuring a good eating experience with fruit supplied through to New Zealand shops, markets and supermarkets.
The second, is a social media marketing programme telling New Zealand to go and buy New Zealand navel oranges. This programme has been exceptional in raising awareness of the delicious and high-quality oranges grown in New Zealand, and sales are on the rise. This in turn, drives more employment for Kiwis and benefits our growing regions. That just doesn’t happen when oranges grown in other countries are purchased. It’s a win-win; the New Zealand consumer gets a fantastic orange, and the country as a whole benefits.
One of the really interesting findings through this programme is that Kiwis want to buy local. The problem that everyone seems to have with buying local is whether or not something you are buying truly comes from New Zealand. That’s why, as well as supporting innovative horticulture, Horticulture New Zealand is campaigning for mandatory country of origin labelling, so New Zealand consumers can buy local, getting the freshest, best produce they can, and supporting the New Zealand economy at the same time.
- Mike Chapman, CEO