Thriving in the climate change new normal
Sunburn, drought, and loss of winter chilling are some of the threats facing orchardists and growers from climate change.
However, if growers implement sustainable best-management practices to adapt to these changes, they could use climate change to their advantage and be able to receive an “ecopremium” for their products, as consumers are becoming more conscious of the environmental impact and footprint of what they buy.
A growing number of overseas supermarket chains such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s are taking environmental credentials and product origins into consideration when they source produce.
Consumers are changing in new, emerging markets too. A Plant & Food Research study on 2000 middle-class Chinese in affluent Chinese coastal cities last year revealed that 42 percent of them seek food that is better for the environment where it was grown.
New Zealand horticulture is a low emissions sector in relation to greenhouse gases. It does not emit methane, a major greenhouse gas produced by ruminants, which accounts for 35 percent of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Orchard plants can store carbon above ground in their trunks and branches and below ground in their roots. This photosynthetic carbon capture and storage mechanism traps