Un­der the Mikero­scope

Plenty hap­pened in the hor­ti­cul­tural world in the last 12 months.

NZ Grower - - Contents -

2018 in re­view

One of the more im­por­tant events for Hor­ti­cul­ture New Zealand this year was the suc­cess­ful levy vote.

The vote was taken af­ter we had held a se­ries of meet­ings around the coun­try talk­ing about the roles of HortNZ and the other or­gan­i­sa­tions that had their levy vote at the same time. Although there was not a strong turnout, the vote was very pos­i­tive with 90 per­cent of those vot­ing be­ing in favour of con­tin­u­ing HortNZ’s work for grow­ers. As we know, when farm­ers or grow­ers are not con­tent with an or­gan­i­sa­tion’s per­for­mance, they vote in large num­bers and against the levy con­tin­u­ing. So thank you for your con­tin­ued sup­port.

Although meet­ing with as many grow­ers as pos­si­ble to dis­cuss the levy was a pri­or­ity this year, we also kept our busi­ness as usual on track and there were some key achieve­ments.

Our com­mu­ni­ca­tions team lifted hor­ti­cul­ture’s pro­file sub­stan­tially through main­stream and so­cial me­dia. We pro­duced high qual­ity in­for­ma­tion brochures about hor­ti­cul­ture, us­ing to best ad­van­tage our vi­sion, healthy food for all for­ever, with an em­pha­sis on sus­tain­able food pro­duc­tion. The an­nual re­port was struc­tured on re­port­ing to HortNZ’s vi­sion, mis­sion and pur­pose and pre­sented the grow­ers and their work with great pho­tos and graph­ics fo­cused on “a food story”.

In Au­gust, Agri­cul­ture, Biose­cu­rity and Food Safety Min­is­ter Damien O’Con­nor hosted the launch of the Deloitte re­port, New Zealand’s Food Story, the Pukekohe Hub, at Par­lia­ment. Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment and En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter David Parker was also in at­ten­dance. This re­port, pre­pared for HortNZ, pro­vides an ev­i­dence-base to push for a New Zealand food se­cu­rity pol­icy aimed at pro­tect­ing grow­ers’ ac­cess to land, wa­ter and peo­ple. It has been the key ref­er­ence doc­u­ment in our cam­paigns to pro­tect land suit­able for hor­ti­cul­ture from hous­ing, and to ad­vance with the Gov­ern­ment the de­vel­op­ment of the Na­tional Pol­icy State­ment for Hor­ti­cul­ture.

Our re­source man­age­ment team, apart from work­ing with Min­is­ter Parker and his of­fi­cials on this Na­tional Pol­icy State­ment, has en­hanced our work­ing re­la­tion­ship with cen­tral Gov­ern­ment and is pro­vid­ing valu­able in­put into cli­mate change pol­icy. It was a busy year for this team which has worked with over 30 coun­cils around the coun­try to en­sure that you can con­tinue to grow fruit and veg­eta­bles. The work with cen­tral Gov­ern­ment will sub­stan­tially strengthen our abil­ity to make key gains with re­gional and dis­trict coun­cils.

In Au­gust, we agreed with the trustees of the pres­ti­gious Ahuwhenua Tro­phy Te Puni Kōkiri Ex­cel­lence in Māori Farm­ing Award for hor­ti­cul­ture to be­come part of this award on a thirdyear ro­ta­tion start­ing in 2020.

The Con­sumers’ Right to Know (Coun­try of Ori­gin of Food) Bill passed into law on Novem­ber 28. This was a long run cam­paign that, with the help of the Green MPs spon­sor­ing the bill, be­came a re­al­ity. To achieve this we had in­de­pen­dent re­search con­ducted into con­sumers’ pref­er­ence - con­sumers un­sur­pris­ingly wanted coun­try of ori­gin la­belling for fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles - and launched a suc­cess­ful so­cial me­dia cam­paign.

For biose­cu­rity, HortNZ pro­vided the tech­ni­cal in­put for the ap­proval of the ap­pli­ca­tion to the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Au­thor­ity for the bio­con­trol Samu­rai wasp. This was a col­lec­tive ini­tia­tive in­volv­ing hor­ti­cul­ture prod­uct groups and other sec­tors and is a great ex­am­ple of how work­ing to­gether across all groups we can achieve sig­nif­i­cant gains. HortNZ also at­tained GIA sig­na­tory sta­tus as the rep­re­sen­ta­tive for process veg­eta­bles.

In con­junc­tion with our part­ners, Plant & Food Re­search and New Zealand Ap­ples & Pears, we pre­sented an­other suc­cess­ful New Zealand pav­il­ion at the 2018 Asia Fruit Lo­gis­tica trade fair in Hong Kong.

NZGAP’s very sig­nif­i­cant achieve­ment was, af­ter a long cam­paign work­ing with the other scheme op­er­a­tors in NZ, the recog­ni­tion of NZGAP plus GLOBALG.A.P. and BRC check­lists as sec­tion 40 Food Con­trol Plan tem­plates with the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries un­der Food Act 2014. Sig­nif­i­cant progress was made on the ac­cep­tance of the NZGAP En­vi­ron­ment Man­age­ment Sys­tem Add-on with mul­ti­ple re­gional coun­cils, as an ac­cepted path­way for grow­ers to meet re­quire­ments for good man­age­ment prac­tice via the in­de­pen­dently au­dited NZGAP

This is work in progress but is fo­cused on mak­ing com­pli­ance straight for­ward, with a “one au­di­tor up the drive way” con­cept.

scheme and as­sur­ance frame­work. This is work in progress but is fo­cused on mak­ing com­pli­ance straight for­ward, with a “one au­di­tor up the drive way” con­cept. A new so­cial prac­tice stan­dard for hor­ti­cul­ture was also launched, which is aligned with NZ re­tailer and reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments.

The Hor­ti­cul­ture Ca­pa­bil­ity Group, made up of rep­re­sen­ta­tives from NZ Ki­wifruit Grow­ers, Ap­ples & Pears, NZ Av­o­cado Grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, Veg­eta­bles NZ, the Hawke’s Bay Fruit Grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion and HortNZ, has taken the lead on hor­ti­cul­ture’s ini­tia­tive to find and keep skilled and re­li­able labour. The group was ac­tive in re-es­tab­lish­ing hor­ti­cul­ture ap­pren­tice­ships, through the Pri­mary ITO, and get­ting ad­di­tional fund­ing from the Gov­ern­ment to make the pro­gramme world-class. There is also work be­ing done with Massey Uni­ver­sity to hope­fully re­in­state the hor­ti­cul­ture de­gree and pro­gres­sively pro­vide a suite of mi­cro-cre­den­tials (short cour­ses) from 2019. Both these have been col­lab­o­ra­tive in­dus­try ef­forts, with great in­put from NZ Ap­ples & Pears. To en­sure a sup­ply of can­di­dates for both the group has sup­ported the po­si­tion es­tab­lished by lo­cal in­dus­try lead, Tim Egan, in Gis­borne to chan­nel peo­ple into these ca­reer pro­grammes and place them with in­dus­try dur­ing their train­ing. There has been fund­ing ap­proval for a sim­i­lar po­si­tion in North­land, with that ca­reer pro­gres­sion man­ager start­ing at the end of Novem­ber. Ap­pli­ca­tions are un­der­way to cre­ate sim­i­lar po­si­tions in the Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay, Nel­son and Marl­bor­ough, and Cen­tral Otago. There would also be a co­or­di­na­tor po­si­tion at Massey Uni­ver­sity. Plus, there is a pipe­line be­ing es­tab­lished with Can­ter­bury grow­ers, though the Pri­mary ITO, into hor­ti­cul­ture ap­pren­tice­ships.

The RSE scheme is sup­ported by HortNZ and, along with the key hor­ti­cul­ture sec­tors, we were suc­cess­ful in get­ting the largest cap in­crease ever made. But as our labour cri­sis wors­ens, the RSE scheme can­not be the only so­lu­tion. We are look­ing for other op­tions col­lec­tively and pos­si­ble im­mi­gra­tion so­lu­tions.

In ad­di­tion, there were the schol­ar­ship pro­grammes and hor­ti­cul­ture lead­er­ship cour­ses, plus there were young grower com­pe­ti­tions cul­mi­nat­ing in the na­tional fi­nal show­cas­ing our up and com­ing tal­ented lead­ers for the fu­ture.

Fi­nally, we ar­ranged vis­its to or­chards and gar­dens for key politi­cians. Thank you for host­ing them.

The above is but a short sum­mary of our key achieve­ments and, I apol­o­gise for ev­ery­thing that I have missed. There were many other is­sues and projects that we worked on to cre­ate the en­dur­ing en­vi­ron­ment where you can pros­per.

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