Horticulture New Zealand (HortNZ) has said that growers in the country will need to work together and show innovation if the country's fresh produce industry is to grow to NZ$10bn by 2020 – a target the industry is already halfway towards reaching.
Speaking at a conference in Christchurch this week, HortNZ CEO Andrew Fenton said that the target was realistic considering the growth shown between 1985, when the industry was valued at NZ$1bn, and 2008, with the industry valued at just under NZ$5bn, The Southland Times reported.
To achieve the goal, growers would have to set aside differences and cooperate to raise returns as costs increased, he said, with innovation in the kiwifruit industry also crucial to boosting the industry.
"Look at Zespri Green and Gold, they are two of the most successful products in 30 years and there have been many more foods to come out since then," he told the conference. "Products seldom do that well, yet New Zealand innovation has two of them and we need to repeat these successes."
Mr Fenton said that the industry body would be looking to boost earnings by increasing fruit and vegetable value through research investment, market development and product branding, as opposed to raising volumes and planted area.
The majority of the extra NZ$5m that the industry hoped to generate would have to come from export markets, he added, where opportunities existed to expand into markets such as China and India.
"We have to be export-focused because we are only growing fruit and vegetables for 4m people and across the ditch there is 20m and further offshore 180m, so the opportunities are offshore," Mr Fenton said.