Pres­i­dent’s word

It is with much plea­sure that I wel­come Mike Chapman to Horticulture New Zealand as our new chief ex­ec­u­tive.

NZ Grower - - CONTENTS -

Lit­tle bro’ is grow­ing up

Mike started on Jan­uary 18 and his feet were hardly un­der his desk when the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries (MPI) an­nounced it had found an un­wanted pest in Auck­land. The tau fly.

Mike is well known to ki­wifruit grow­ers and many prod­uct groups. He is less well known in the veg­etable sec­tor, but Mike has as­sured us that one of his first aims is to get around to see a broad range of grow­ers out in the re­gions.

Mike stud­ied law at Otago Univer­sity, joined the New Zealand Navy and worked for 16 years, fin­ish­ing his mil­i­tary ca­reer as the De­fence Force so­lic­i­tor. In 1995 he left the ser­vice to join the Com­merce Com­mis­sion, work­ing un­der for­mer Re­serve Bank gov­er­nor Alan Bol­lard. Five years on Mike left to join the Auck­land District Law So­ci­ety as its pro­fes­sional stan­dards di­rec­tor, and so be­gan his in­volve­ment with mem­ber­ship as­so­ci­a­tions. In 2002 he moved to Tau­ranga and took up the role of chief ex­ec­u­tive of the reg­u­la­tory body Ki­wifruit New Zealand, and moved over to work for ki­wifruit grow­ers at NZ Ki­wifruit Grow­ers In­cor­po­rated (NZKGI) three years later.

Mike is no stranger to work­ing with politi­cians, govern­ment pol­icy mak­ers and lo­cal coun­cil of­fi­cials. And we are look­ing for­ward to ac­cess­ing his ex­per­tise, net­works and skills.

I hope many of you got some time off over the Christ­mas and New Year break to spend some qual­ity time with fam­ily and friends. In your De­cem­ber edi­tion of the mag­a­zine I sug­gested you had some time to re­flect on the year ahead. In so do­ing, you also need to look back to see where you have come from. In my opin­ion the in­dus­try has come a long way. Horticulture in New Zealand is the lit­tle brother to the ma­jor pow­ers of the dairy, meat, forestry and wine sec­tors. But this lit­tle brother is grow­ing up fast.

At the end of last year MPI pre­dicted that the rise of horticulture would make a con­sid­er­able con­tri­bu­tion to­wards off­set­ting the slump in the pri­mary sec­tor’s ex­port earn­ings caused by the dairy down­turn.

But com­mer­cial fruit and veg­etable grow­ing in New Zealand is not ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a sud­den, out-of-the-blue `re­nais­sance’ or `up­turn’ in its for­tunes. No, the growth the in­dus­try is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing is built on years of longterm strate­gic plan­ning, com­mit­ment to de­vel­op­ing new mar­kets, con­stant evo­lu­tion of pro­duc­tion sys­tems and, of course, good old-fash­ioned hard work.

MPI’S out­look for 2016 pre­dicts a rise in in­dus­try re­turns of about $700 mil­lion, thanks to the re­cov­ery of ki­wifruit post-Psa, in­creas­ing pipfruit and av­o­cado ex­ports, as well as im­proved mar­ket ac­cess with lower tar­iffs and ex­change rates for prod­ucts like onions, but­ter­cup squash and cher­ries. The agency is fore­cast­ing this lift in growth to con­tinue through to at least 2019. Its con­fi­dence is based on the growth in ex­ist­ing mar­kets, plus the po­ten­tial for growth in new mar­kets, and the trade ben­e­fits start­ing to flow through from free trade agree­ments with coun­tries such as Tai­wan and South Korea.

Col­lec­tively the fruit and veg­etable in­dus­tries are worth $5 bil­lion, just over half of that value com­ing into the coun­try as ex­port re­turns. Aus­tralia is New Zealand’s largest mar­ket for fresh horticulture pro­duce. We ex­port fresh and pro­cessed pro­duce val­ued at $450 mil­lion to Aus­tralia. Of the top 10 coun­tries we ex­port to, seven are in Asia. Long gone are the days of de­pen­dence on the Euro­pean Union. New Zealand horticulture is now firmly es­tab­lished as a global busi­ness, trad­ing with more than 120 coun­tries an­nu­ally.

New Zealand’s 5,500 com­mer­cial fruit and veg­etable grow­ers don’t take much for granted. Not the weather, the govern­ment or their in­dus­try

rep­re­sen­ta­tives. They care about putting good food on the ta­bles of fam­i­lies in New Zealand, and in coun­tries around the world. We are very proud of this.

Hort NZ was cre­ated al­most 10 years ago out of the merger of the Veg­etable and Potato Grow­ers Fed­er­a­tion, the New Zealand Fruit­grow­ers Fed­er­a­tion and New Zealand Berryfruit Fed­er­a­tion.

The chal­lenge fac­ing Hort NZ go­ing into its se­cond decade is to con­tinue to en­sure it is rep­re­sent­ing the views of the ma­jor­ity of grow­ers on is­sues in which they can­not be as ef­fec­tive on their own. It’s up to the prod­uct groups to de­liver on their in­di­vid­ual strate­gic plans while we help clear the path­way or set the scene on pan-in­dus­try mat­ters.

Horticulture in New Zealand is the lit­tle brother to the ma­jor pow­ers of the dairy, meat, forestry and wine sec­tors. But this lit­tle brother is grow­ing up fast.

This fo­cus has got horticulture to its po­si­tion as New Zealand’s fourth largest ex­port earner. Con­tin­ued fo­cus on work­ing to­gether, work­ing smarter and grow­ing not just one but all busi­nesses in the sec­tor, will en­sure lit­tle brother will con­tinue to play a sig­nif­i­cant role in New Zealand’s pri­mary sec­tor fam­ily. 2016, bring it ON!

Pres­i­dent’s word Ju­lian Raine | Pres­i­dent Hortnz

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