More than 250 industry stakeholders expected for next week’s NZAPI Conference in Nelson

NZ apple carton

Walt Duflock, vice president of innovation at US representative body Western Growers, is one of the headline speakers for next week’s New Zealand Apples and Pears Inc (NZAPI) Conference.

Taking place at the Rutherford Hotel in Nelson on 25 and 26 August, the theme for the conference is ‘Adapting to New Horizons’.

NZAPI chief executive Terry Meikle said an ability to adapt and innovate will be essential if the New Zealand apple and pear industry is to remain a leading player on the world stage.

“New Zealand is widely regarded as the best apple and pear producer in the world, but to retain that title, we must continue to adapt and innovate,” said Meikle. “The conference will explore how we as an industry can meet and succeed in these new environments.

“Over the two days of the Conference we will have presentations and discussions on the themes of enabling our industry globally, strengthening our sustainability pillar, technology partnerships and telling our story.”

Duflock will address how the New Zealand industry can plug in to global innovation to accelerate ag-tech solutions faster, by working with start-ups and growers worldwide to enable more grower discovery, conversations, field trials and case studies. He will also present his views on how New Zealand can build a workforce that is ready and enabled to work with these new ag-tech solutions.

Also speaking on global technology will be Peter McHannigan, innovation leader for orchard technology at kiwifruit marketer Zespri. McHannigan will outline how Zespri is ensuring the technologies it is investing in align with international trends.

A high-powered panel discussion on sustainability is another highlight on the programme. The panel includes BNZ’s director of sustainable finance Jacqui Macalister, Toitū Tahua chair Bridget Coates, Thinkstep-ANZ chief executive Barbara Nebel and T&G Global chief executive Gareth Edgecombe.

A pre-conference ‘Agritech in the Orchard’ field day will take place on 24 August. A collaboration between Callaghan Innovation and NZAPI, the field day aims to connect innovators, researchers and growers within the apple and pear sector.