NZ Bay of Plenty kiwifruit

All of New Zealand’s horticulture sector has worked with key government departments to develop strategy set to spearhead the country’s post-Covid recovery.

The strategy, released on 15 July, identified why the horticulture industry will effective in driving the recovery and detailed the steps that would be required to accelerate the recovery.

Mike Chapman,chief executive of Horticulture New Zealand, said the industry had worked closely with the government to ensure New Zealanders and overseas customers could continue to buy fresh produce during the pandemic, so it only made sense to continue this collaboration.

“The success of this new level of cooperation led to the conclusion that it would be great if we all continued to work together to develop a strategy combining industry and government expertise to ensure that horticulture is able to maximise its contribution to New Zealand’s post-Covid recovery,” Chapman said.

“The outcome we are all looking for is growth, jobs and regional economic prosperity, within the context of the broader recovery.”

The strategy covers trade and market access; labour, capability and skills; climate change and natural resources; improved and sustainable production systems; telling the horticulture story; partnership with Maori; technology and innovation; diversity; big data and removing barriers to growth and success.

Antony Heywood, chief executive of Vegetables New Zealand, said there is a wealth of expertise in the horticulture industry that is often compromised by a lack of government insight into and understanding of the industry.

‘That’s why I am so positive about this strategy,” said Heywood.

“It will improve communication and provide a mechanism for horticulture and government to work together to address the challenges that would otherwise hold our industry back, especially during the post-Covid recovery.”