World-wide consumer interest in healthy food, growers being early-adopters of innovation, and rapid growth make horticulture in New Zealand ripe for further investment, says Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman.
“Today, the government has released a business-focused overview in The Investor’s Guide to the New Zealand Produce Industry 2017 which shows potential investors how well fruit and vegetable production in New Zealand is going,” Mr Chapman says.
The report – part of the New Zealand Food & Beverage Information Project – was released by Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy at an event in Auckland.
“This report has a lot of detailed information of value to potential investors,” Mr Chapman says, “And while it highlights the success of apples and kiwifruit, which are the horticulture export stars, we are also seeing impressive export growth for cherries, avocados and some vegetables, such as onions,” Mr Chapman says.
“As the report points out, New Zealand is tapping into mega-trends such as health and wellness, demand for convenient and indulgent foods, and consumer desires to source food grown in sustainable ways with a light-touch on the environment.
“This is where horticulture in New Zealand excels. Our growers are also early-adopters of science and technology to match changes in consumer demands. There has been considerable investment in all aspects of production and some of our packhouses are driving efficiencies and improving quality with cutting-edge technology and innovative working practices. For example, the sweetness of fruit can be detected by sensors as they pass through the packing line. Drones are being used by growers and we expect the use of robots in fields and orchards is not far away.
“Many horticulture businesses in New Zealand are inter-generational, family-owned business with a long history of growing produce, making them trusted by consumers. As the report points out, we have ideal climate and soils; efficient people and systems; and ideal location with proximity to key markets.
“We welcome the release of this detailed report which gives an accurate picture of the opportunities and challenges in horticulture in New Zealand. There are some challenges around retaining our most valuable growing land in an environment where there is demand for large amounts of housing to be developed quickly, and in access to water.
“But overall, for investors, horticulture is a winner.”