New horizons for horticulture
The Tree Crops Association held its conference in New Plymouth last weekend. More than 100 highly enthusiastic growers attended, ranging from back-yard growers through to commercial growers. Their interest in and passion for horticulture was very evident. I had the privilege to speak to them about the new horizons for horticulture. They were an engaging and inspiring audience, innovative and always looking for new tree crops to take to market.
I explained to them that horticulture was at the start of exponential growth for the following reasons.
To meet New Zealand's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) requirements, we have to rethink what we farm and grow. There will need to be a reduction in the number of farm animals, and an increase in trees and horticulture.
My point is that horticulture is well placed to take up this challenge. Export value for the two year period from 2014 grew 40 percent. The Government's recently announced trade policy will assist further growth, along with Free Trade Agreements with the UK and EU. The simple fact is that horticulture can only grow through exports and that requires a partnership with Government to assist the small to medium sized emerging exporters.
Finally, to enable this growth horticulture needs national policy protecting high value horticulture land from houses.
We have a target of reaching $10 billion in sales by 2020. We're on track to do that and keep growing.
- Mike Chapman, CEO