New industry strategy aims to double the farmgate value of horticulture production by 2035

The New Zealand horticulture industry and government have released a new industry action plan which sets the goal of increasing the farmgate value of horticulture production to NZ$12bn (US$7.7bn by 2035.

New Zealand apples kiwifruit and berries blueberries fruit fresh produce

The Aotearoa Horticulture Action Plan, called Growing Together 2035, was been developed by industry, Māori, research providers and government. It will be supported by an annual implementation and investment plan.

New Zealand’s agriculture minister Damien O’Connor said the plan sets out the pathway to doubling the industry’s current production value of over NZ$6bn.

“Our food and fibre exports are vital to New Zealand’s economic security. We’re focussed on long-term strategies that build on the year-on-year record revenue earned by our farmers and growers,” O’Connor said.

“Since 2017, primary sector export revenue has grown by 39 per cent to a record NZ$53bn last year, with horticulture contributing NZ$6.7bn. In 2023, horticulture exports are expected to top a record NZ$7.1bn.

“By accelerating growth and sustainability in our horticulture sector we can support businesses to grow, create new jobs, lift exports and provide greater domestic food supply.”

Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Nadine Tunley said strategy deliberately focuses on outcomes and actions across the value chain where partners can collaborate to generate the most benefits.

“The Plan’s outcomes are supported by a series of actions that will work together to grow the overall sustainability and value of Aotearoa’s horticulture sector,” Tunley said.

“The actions range from identifying energy-intensive areas of the horticulture value chain and supporting conversion to systems that reduce greenhouse gas emissions; to improving crop management and protection, developing pathways to increase Māori participation, increasing capability; and better understanding consumer needs and channels to market.

“Development of the action plan was a collaborative effort between industry, government, science and Māori, recognising that to be successful, we need to work together to make significant and enduring change.”

O’Conner said the focuses on five outcomes: Grow sustainably; Optimise value; Māori are strong in horticulture; Action underpinned by science and knowledge and Nurture people.

“Consumers here and around the world continue to demand high quality and nutritious fresh fruit and vegetables to boost their wellbeing. Food security is a growing issue globally and we want to ensure New Zealanders have access to affordable food,” said O’Conner.

“The Growing Together 2035 Strategy’s vision is that ‘Aotearoa New Zealand is synonymous with world-leading healthy produce, which is grown with care for people and place, and is enjoyed by consumers around the world.

“The horticulture strategy sets bold outcomes and actions to maximise value, boost sustainability, increase Māori participation in high value horticulture, and attract and retain the right people.” 

Associate minister of agriculture Meka Whaitiri said the strategy will further realise the potential of Māori horticulture and deliver economic opportunities.

“Māori are kaitiaki of their whenua, landowners, business owners and leaders in their communities. The Horticulture Action Plan will support an approach to horticulture for Māori, led by Māori and Rautaki mo te Taurikura – Embracing change for prosperity, a detailed plan launched in late 2022,” Whaitiri said.