Per­fect storm brew­ing for fruit and veg­etable sup­ply

A per­fect storm is brew­ing for New Zealand’s sup­ply of healthy fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles that could see us un­able to feed our grow­ing pop­u­la­tion with do­mes­ti­cally grown pro­duce, a re­port from Hor­ti­cul­ture New Zealand says.

NZ Grower - - NEWS -

In re­leas­ing the re­port, New Zealand do­mes­tic veg­etable pro­duc­tion: the grow­ing story, Hor­ti­cul­ture New Zealand chief ex­ec­u­tive Mike Chap­man says it is time to take stock and de­velop a na­tional food se­cu­rity strat­egy.

“Our re­search shows that New Zealan­ders not only want to know where their fruit and veg­eta­bles come from, they want to buy New Zealand grown. This re­port looks at the fac­tors that will im­pact se­cu­rity of sup­ply. Our cur­rent con­sump­tion lev­els of fresh pro­duce show that net pro­duc­tion is al­ready be­low what is re­quired for do­mes­tic con­sump­tion, mean­ing we can ex­pect food short­ages if we can’t get that bal­ance of sup­ply from im­ports,” Chap­man says.

“Prime fruit and veg­etable grow­ing land is be­ing squeezed by rapid growth in towns and ci­ties and high de­mand for new hous­ing. Changes in weather pat­terns and ex­treme un­sea­sonal weather events are be­com­ing more fre­quent and dam­ag­ing, im­pact­ing the sup­ply and con­se­quently the price of fresh, healthy food.

“Things are chang­ing fast and we need to look closely at our do­mes­tic food sup­ply and be sure that town, city and re­gional planning de­ci­sions are seen in the con­text of im­pact­ing the whole of New Zealand’s food sup­ply.”

The re­port looks at do­mes­tic veg­etable sup­ply, par­tic­u­larly of what would be considered sta­ple

veg­eta­bles, to ex­am­ine all the fac­tors that go into get­ting these veg­eta­bles from the field to the plate. It ex­am­ines the chal­lenges to sup­ply, through to what is driv­ing de­mand and price.

“In­for­ma­tion and ev­i­dence are re­quired to en­able good de­ci­sions about New Zealand’s do­mes­tic food sup­ply and we are keen to en­gage the new gov­ern­ment with our call for a na­tional food se­cu­rity strat­egy,” Chap­man says.

“Do­mes­tic sup­ply is not be­ing viewed as a na­tional sys­tem, with iden­ti­fied strengths and weak­nesses, to give New Zealan­ders con­tin­ued ac­cess to all the fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles they need in the fu­ture. Lo­cal, district and re­gional de­ci­sion-mak­ing doesn’t look be­yond its bor­ders. While this is ap­pro­pri­ate in the con­text of their planning, con­sid­er­a­tion is not given to na­tional food sup­ply when land is zoned for hous­ing, or wa­ter is al­lo­cated.

“We need to fu­ture-proof the re­sources re­quired to sup­ply food to our grow­ing pop­u­la­tion and this re­port looks at this with the back­drop of global mega­trends, in­clud­ing rapidly chang­ing con­sumer de­mands, grow­ing pop­u­la­tions, ur­ban­i­sa­tion and the im­pact of life-style blocks on hor­ti­cul­ture, emerg­ing tech­nol­ogy and the em­pha­sis on sus­tain­abil­ity.

“Our re­search shows that New Zealan­ders not only want to know where their fruit and veg­eta­bles come from, they want to buy New Zealand grown.”

“This re­port doesn’t an­swer all the ques­tions. It pro­vides a snap­shot of do­mes­tic veg­etable pro­duc­tion to start the con­ver­sa­tion about food se­cu­rity in New Zealand and is part of a body of re­search we have planned to en­sure food se­cu­rity is taken se­ri­ously,” Chap­man says.

The full re­port is avail­able here:

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