Innovative and ambitious protected cropping
Elanza Fresh, a partnership between David Saunders of Katikati and business partner Peter Molloy, an established berry fruit grower of Matangi, aims to prove that a wide range of fruits, from berries to figs, persimmons and stone fruit, can be grown commercially under protective canopies.
To this end new “high tunnel houses” have been erected covering 1.25 hectares of a 16 hectare site the company is leasing near Katikati, and plant breeding of a range of fruits is underway. A four hectare development under protective canopies is also in operation in the Waikato.
Unusually for a business venture, and in particular for a startup Elanza is investing more than 25% of its financial resources in research and development, taking a significant risk on achieving its aims to develop intellectual property both in plant varieties and growing systems, which can be marketed to clients. David, who has a degree in botany and strong science and business backgrounds, says the impetuous for the venture includes the fact that protected cropping is well established overseas, “New Zealand is lagging behind in this area”; and research work he had previously been involved in showed consumers were prepared to pay more for high quality food, grown using sustainable methods.
“I also believe New Zealanders are no longer going to tolerate the degrading
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