Your levy at work
An operational agreement to reduce the damaging impact of a brown marmorated stink bug incursion was signed by a number of horticultural sector groups and government at the Horticulture Conference in July. The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is one of the biggest threats facing New Zealand’s horticultural sector. It threatens the livelihoods of primary sector producers, and would impact on the quality of life of all New Zealanders if it were to establish here. This agreement will formalise the readiness work that is already well underway by both industry, the Ministry for Primary Industries, and researchers.
The samurai wasp steering group is working to finalise the samurai wasp import application to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), for use as a bio-control. The steering group is working with the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) Council to develop plans for operational deployment of the samurai wasp in response to a potential BMSB incursion. It has been estimated that a stink bug incursion could cause hundreds of millions of dollars of losses and the loss of overseas markets if it became established. The samurai wasp is a natural enemy of the stink bug and is said to be one of the most effective biological controls.
In June, the Plants Market Access Council agreed to maintain charges for phytosanitary certificates at the same level as
last year. Biosecurity and trade policy manager Richard Palmer has spoken with the NZ Feijoa Growers Association executive about market access, on-arrival border detections, and myrtle rust. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) now has a Myrtle Rust Information page on its website to keep people up to date with confirmed sites and legal restrictions on movement of plants and green waste.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has completed a review of submissions on the Import Health Standard for Air Containers and issued a provisional standard for review by submitters, including Hort NZ and Kiwifruit Vine Health. We are working through the MPI response to our submission, and considering the amendments made in this provisional standard. Overall, this Air Container IHS provides for improved processes at airports to better manage residual biosecurity risk in air containers, including recording detections to give a better picture of these risks. Providing for collection of data of this nature is critical to achieving the goals of Biosecurity 2025, in particular Strategic Direction 3: Free flowing information highways.
Horticulture New Zealand has teamed up with WorkSafe New Zealand to create a health and safety toolkit specifically designed for horticulture businesses. The customised toolkit, called Keep Safe, Keep Growing, includes both a written booklet and an easy-to-work-through online guide to help growers identify and manage health and safety risks. Features include a guide for visitors to a property, tools and training resources for workers and contractors, and the ability to create risk assessments for Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) audits that are part of many horticulture businesses. A copy of the Keep Safe, Keep Growing guide is being posted to all growers. Additional copies will be available from Horticulture New Zealand on request and you can find the toolkit via our website www.hortnz.co.nz.
NZGAP has published its annual activity report, covering its work over the past 12 months. The report is available on the NZGAP website www.newzealandgap.co.nz.
A levy reduction for commercial fruit and vegetable growers was approved by growers at the Horticulture New Zealand Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Tauranga in July. The
proposal was that the levy be reduced by 0.01% to 0.14%, equating to 14c per $100 of sales. This will go into effect on 1 October 2017. The Board recommended the levy reduction because prudent controls in the preceding financial year meant Horticulture New Zealand’s financial position was such that it could sustain a downturn in levies and still continue to provide essential services.
A video showing the story of New Zealand’s fresh fruit and vegetables, from the seed through to food on a plate, was launched by Horticulture New Zealand at the Horticulture Conference. Horticulture has been the unsung hero of the primary industries and we thought it was time people knew our story. The video is pitched at a broad audience and aimed to cover off trends including a strong desire by consumers to both buy food grown locally, and to understand what has gone into producing their food. The video titled Healthy food for all forever can be viewed on YouTube or via the Hort NZ website www.hortnz.co.nz.
In June, the Natural Resources and Environment team made a further submission on the proposed Marlborough Environment Plan. This plan has been created by the Marlborough District Council (MDC) to produce a single resource management document for the district, merging the Marlborough Regional Policy Statement, the Marlborough Sounds Resource Management Plan, and the Wairau/Awatere Resource Management Plan. There have been a large number of submissions on this plan, and further information can be
accessed on the MDC website www.marlborough.govt.nz.
Hort NZ assembled a team of experts, advocates and growers to present at the Whangarei District Plan change hearings on the rural provisions. The hearing went very well, and we hope to have effectively communicated the importance of horticulture for the district and some issues for growers with the plan, particularly regarding zoning and reverse sensitivity.
Hort NZ has submitted evidence and presented on it for the Greater Wellington Proposed Natural Resources Plan Hearing Stream 2, which covers the topics of air quality management, land use in riparian margins and stock access to water bodies, and soil conservation.
In June, Hort NZ’s biosecurity and trade policy manager Richard Palmer and chief executive Mike Chapman, together
with representatives from Zespri, met with visitors from Copa-cogeca – the organisation representing farmers and their cooperatives in the European Union. They discussed the high value for both New Zealand and European agribusiness from trade in horticultural products. The Russian embargo has been a significant disruptor for the European fruit and vegetable industry, and Brexit poses challenges, both of which come on the back of declining fruit and vegetable consumption. Potential opportunity in matters of plant health were also discussed, as were important risk management strategies and appropriate, cost-effective mechanisms that support market access.
New Zealand persimmons have access to China, following final signoff by Chinese officials. Officials from China's inspection and quarantine services were in New Zealand in July to audit compliance with the persimmon export programme to China. The officials looked in great detail at the registered orchards, packhouse, exporter and freight forwarders, and were present at the phytosanitary inspection after completion of cold treatment. Up to 20,000kg may be exported this year. As the industry builds confidence that it will deliver quality fruit while meeting the import protocols, this volume is expected to grow in the coming years.
The inaugural Hort NZ Leadership Programme and National Young Grower Alumni event was held at the Horticulture Conference in July. The event included a presentation by Dr Rosie Bosworth, a strategic communications and technology professional with a focus on the convergence of new technologies, business model innovation, and how collectively they are transforming the world’s major industry sectors.