The Pukekohe food hub, which supplies New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, is at risk of an economic downfall of up to NZ$1.1bn (US$7.3m) according to a report by Deloitte.
The prediction spans the next 25 years, in which Auckland’s population is expected to rise to 2.3m.
“It is essential that we have a holistic view of our food supply chain to ensure informed decision-making around critical areas such as land use and water allocation,” said Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman.
“To meet environmental and health imperatives, as well as consumer expectations, it makes sense to protect growing hubs close to our main population centres,” Chapman added.
“Food and housing are competing for land and water. We need both, so now is a good time to be smart about long-term planning for food security and domestic supply.”
The report recommends a number of steps to reduce risk of rising prices and lack of food security, including considered planning of land use, investment in new varieties, funding for horticulture education to attract talent, and balancing water access with horticulture and households.
The report states that the Pukekohe hub is unique in its abundance of fertile soil, proximity to the domestic market in Auckland, and direct access to transit routes.